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  4. Quick guide to Cite Them Right referencing for Law modules

Quick guide to Cite Them Right referencing for Law modules

Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. The Cite Them Right version of Harvard
  3. The Cite Them Right version of OSCOLA
  4. Referencing accessible formats

This guide should be used only when you are studying an OU Law undergraduate module (W1xx, W2xx or W3xx) from October 2021 onwards.

If you are studying a Law postgraduate module (W8xx), you should not use this guide. Please refer to the information under the heading 'Assessment: plagiarism and referencing' under the 'Discover' tab on the Law Postgraduate Home website.

If you are studying any other module, use the Quick guide to Harvard referencing (Cite Them Right).

Introduction

This guide provides a quick introduction to the Cite Them Right versions of Harvard and OSCOLA (Oxford University Standard for the Citation of Legal Authorities). Cite Them Right online is a practical guide to referencing, and is available through the OU Library.

For general help and support with referencing, have a look at the Library’s page on referencing and plagiarism.

Two categories of material

When you are studying an OU Law module, you will need to refer to two categories of material: general academic sources, and legal sources. On Law undergraduate modules, these two types of source require different referencing styles.

General academic sources

You will reference these using the Cite Them Right version of Harvard. These sources are sometimes referred to as ‘secondary sources of law’, and include module materials, books, databases, journal articles and websites.

When you are referring to module materials, you should:

  • follow the Harvard style shown in Tutors’ lecture notes in VLEs (this item is under the heading 'Learning Environments' under the 'Digital & Internet' tab in Cite Them Right),
  • include section numbers to enable your tutor to find the part of the materials that you used, and
  • use suffix letters to distinguish between the units, as explained in Sections 8–8.2.2 of the Law undergraduate guide.

Legal sources

You will reference these sources, which are listed under the 'Legal' tab in Cite Them Right, using the Cite Them Right version of OSCOLA.

These sources include various reports and papers, and primary sources of law, including:

  • UK cases and statutes
  • UK secondary legislation
  • Welsh legislation
  • EU cases and legislation
  • International treaties and case law
  • The European Convention on Human Rights and cases from the European Court of Human Rights

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The Cite Them Right version of Harvard

In-text citations and full references

Referencing consists of two elements:

  • in-text citations, which are inserted in the body of your text and are included in the word count. An in-text citation gives the author(s) and publication date of a source you are referring to. If the publication date is not given, the phrase 'no date' is used instead of a date. If using direct quotations, you also need the page number, if available, or paragraph number for web pages.
  • full references, which are given in alphabetical order in a reference list at the end of your work and are not included in the word count. Full references give full bibliographical information for all the sources you have referred to in the body of your text.

Difference between reference list and bibliography

  • Reference list: only includes sources you have referred to in the body of your text;

  • bibliography: includes sources you have referred to in the body of your text AND sources that were part of your background reading that you did not use in your assignment.

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Examples of in-text citations

There are a number of ways of incorporating in-text citations into your work. Examples are provided below:

One author Two authors Three authors Four or more authors

It has been emphasised that good referencing is an important academic skill (Harris, 2015).

OR

Harris (2015) emphasised that good referencing is an important academic skill.

It has been emphasised that good referencing is an important academic skill (Shah and Papadopoulos, 2015).

OR

Shah and Papadopoulos (2015) emphasised that good referencing is an important academic skill.

It has been emphasised that good referencing is an important academic skill (Wong, Smith and Adebole, 2015).

OR

Wong, Smith and Adebole (2015) emphasised that good referencing is an important academic skill.

It has been emphasised that good referencing is an important academic skill (Wong et al., 2015).

OR

Wong et al. (2015) emphasised that good referencing is an important academic skill.

Note: When referencing a chapter of an edited book, your in-text citation should give the author(s) of the chapter

Corporate author When no author, use the title of the resource in italics

It has been emphasised that good referencing is an important academic skill (The Open University, 2015)

Information from The Open University (2015) emphasises that good referencing is an important academic skill.
 

​It has been emphasised that good referencing is an important academic skill (Information Literacy in Higher Education, 2015)

Information from Information Literacy in Higher Education (2015) emphasises that good referencing is an important academic skill.

 

Secondary referencing Page numbers

Fernandez (2015, quoted in Nabokov, 2017) states that…

Use ‘quoted in’ if directly quoting, and ‘cited in’ if summarising from a source.

The full reference will give only the source you read (in this case: Nabokov, 2017).

Harris (2015, p. 5) argues that…

Wong et al. (2015, pp. 35-49)…

Use page numbers for direct quotations or when you use ideas from specific pages.

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Examples of full references

Module websites

Online module materials

Surname, Initial. (Year of publication) 'Title of item'. Module code: Module title. Available at: URL of VLE (Accessed: date).

OR, if there is no named author - this is the case for all undergraduate Law modules:

The Open University (Year study of module started) 'Title of item'. Module code: Module title. Available at: URL of VLE (Accessed: date).

Example:

The Open University (2017) 'Unit 4 Legal systems in other jurisdictions'. W999: Law for life and learning. Available at: https://learn2.open.ac.uk/mod/oucontent/view.php?id=XXXXXXXX (Accessed: 7 March 2018).

Note: if a complete journal article has been uploaded to a module website, or if you have seen an article referred to on the website and then accessed the original version, you should reference the original journal article, and do not mention the module materials. If only an extract from an article that you want to reference is included in your module materials, you should use secondary referencing, with the module materials as the 'cited in' source, as described above.

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Forum messages

Surname, Initial. (Year of publication) 'Title of message', Title of discussion board, in Module code: Module title. Available at: URL of VLE (Accessed: date).

Example:

Thomas, D. (2016) ‘Submitting your TMA', Tutor Group discussion, in A215: Creative writing. Available at: https://learn2.open.ac.uk/mod/forumng/discuss.php?d=2239139 (Accessed: 22 March 2017).

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Books

Note: When an eBook looks like a printed book, with publication details and pagination, reference as a printed book.

Surname, Initial. (Year of publication) Title. Edition if later than first. Place of publication: publisher. Series and volume number if relevant.

Example with one author:

Bell, J. (2014) Doing your research project. Maidenhead: Open University Press.

Example with two or three authors:

Goddard, J. and Barrett, S. (2015) The health needs of young people leaving care. Norwich: University of East Anglia, School of Social Work and Psychosocial Studies.

Example with four or more authors:

Young, H.D. et al. (2015) Sears and Zemansky's university physics. San Francisco, Calif.: Addison-Wesley.

Young, H.D., Freedman, R.A., Sandin, T.R., and Ford, A.L. (2015) Sears and Zemansky's university physics. San Francisco, Calif.: Addison-Wesley.

Note: You can choose either method to reference four or more authors, and your approach should be consistent.

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Chapter in edited book

Note: Books that have an editor, or editors, where each chapter is written by a different author, or authors.

Surname of chapter author, Initial. (Year of publication) 'Title of chapter or section', in Surname of book editor, Initial. (ed.) Title of book. Place of publication: publisher, Page reference.

Example:

Franklin, A.W. (2012) 'Management of the problem', in Smith, S.M. (ed.) The maltreatment of children. Lancaster: MTP, pp. 83–95

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Journal articles

Surname, Initial. (Year of publication) 'Title of article', Title of Journal, volume number (issue number), page reference. Doi: doi number if available OR Available at: URL (Accessed date).

Examples:

Shirazi, T. (2010) 'Successful teaching placements in secondary schools: achieving QTS practical handbooks', European Journal of Teacher Education​, 33(3), pp. 323-326

Shirazi, T. (2010) 'Successful teaching placements in secondary schools: achieving QTS practical handbooks', European Journal of Teacher Education​, 33(3), pp. 323-326. doi: 10.1080/02619761003602246.

Barke, M. and Mowl, G. (2016) 'Málaga – a failed resort of the early twentieth century?', Journal of Tourism History, 2(3), pp. 187–212. Available at: http://www.tanfonline.com/full/1755182.2016 (Accessed: 23 April 2018).

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Newspaper articles

Surname, Initial. (Year of publication) 'Title of article', Title of Newspaper, Day and month, Page reference.

Surname, Initial. (Year of publication) 'Title of article', Title of Newspaper, Day and month, Page reference if available. Available at: URL (Accessed: date).

Examples:

Mansell, W. and Bloom, A. (2012) ‘£10,000 carrot to tempt physics experts’, The Guardian, 20 June, p. 5.

Roberts, D. and Ackerman, S. (2013) 'US draft resolution allows Obama 90 days for military action against Syria', The Guardian, 4 September. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/04/syria-strikes-draft-resolut... (Accessed: 9 September 2015)

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Web pages

Surname, Initial. (Year that the site was published/last updated) Title of web page. Available at: URL (Accessed: date).

Organisation (Year that the page was last updated) Title of web page. Available at: URL (Accessed: date).

Examples:

Burton, P.A. (2012) Castles of Spain. Available at: http://www.castlesofspain.co.uk/ (Accessed: 14 October 2015).

The British Psychological Society (2018) Code of Ethics and Conduct. Available at: https://www.bps.org.uk/news-and-policy/bps-code-ethics-and-conduct (Accessed: 22 March 2019).

Note: Cite Them Right Online offers guidance for referencing webpages that do not include authors' names or dates. However, be extra vigilant about the suitability of such webpages.

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The Cite Them Right version of OSCOLA

In-text footnote numbers, and full citations in footnotes

An OSCOLA reference must include two elements:

  • in-text footnote numbers, presented as superscripts if possible, immediately after the punctuation at the end of every clause or sentence where cited material appears in your work. You should insert these references using your word-processor’s ‘insert footnote’ facility; in modern versions of Word, this appears under the ‘References’ tab. If you do not insert a space between the punctuation and the superscript, the superscript will not be included in your word count.
  • footnotes, each consisting of a number and a full citation, at the bottom of every page that includes one or more in-text footnote numbers; the material in these footnotes is not included in your word count. It does not matter whether these footnote numbers are presented as superscripts or normal-sized text, but you should be consistent within each piece of work. The examples below demonstrate the use of both styles.

For primary sources of law – eg UK cases and statutes, UK secondary legislation, Welsh legislation, EU cases and legislation, international treaties and case law, the European Convention on Human Rights and cases from the European Court of Human Rights – that you have found listed in your OU module materials, copy the details from the reference list at the back of the unit, and paste them into your footnotes. (These sources do not need to be included in the reference list at the end of your work.)

For other sources listed under the ‘Legal’ tab in Cite Them Right, and primary sources of law that you find in non-OU publications, use the Cite Them Right version of OSCOLA guidance to construct the footnote.

Examples of how to cite cases from the UK courts are found in ‘Law reports (cases)’ under the heading ‘Reports’ under the ‘Legal’ tab in Cite Them Right.

If you need to refer to a legal source that is not covered by the Cite Them Right version of OSCOLA, you should make a genuine attempt to include all the information that would be necessary in order to enable your tutor to find it.

There is a note about citing treaties at the end of this Quick Guide.

You may choose to include the titles of some legal sources in the text of a piece of work, but you must also include their full citations in footnotes.

Most Law assignments will require both types of reference, so each piece of work is likely to include:

  • Harvard in-text citations, and a reference list, for general academic sources

and

  • OSCOLA in-text footnote numbers, and footnotes, for legal sources.

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Examples of using in-text footnote numbers and corresponding footnotes

The facts in the example below have, of course, been overtaken by events, but they have been used because it is very rare for so many different sources of law to be relevant to one situation.

If you include the name of a case in the text, you do not need to include its date in the text. The date for every case is part of its citation, so it must appear in the footnote.

If you include the title of a piece of legislation in the text, you must include its date in the text.

The ‘triggering’ process set out in the EU Treaty enables a member state to leave the EU within two years of giving formal notice of its intention to do so.1 The High Court ruled, in R (Miller) v The Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union,2 that the UK could not give notice of its intention to leave without the authority of an Act of Parliament. On 24 January 2017, this decision was upheld by the Supreme Court in R (on the application of Miller and another) v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union.3

Parliament subsequently passed the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Act 2017, which came into force on 16 March 2017, giving the Prime Minister the discretionary power to notify the EU of the UK’s intention to withdraw.

The UK’s exit date was originally set for 29 March 2019,4 but an extension was unanimously agreed by Parliament, and granted by the EU, and the date was amended to 31 October 2019.5


  1. Consolidated Version of the Treaty on the European Union [2008] OJ C115/13, art 50.
  2. R (Miller) v The Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union [2016] EWHC 2768 (Admin).
  3. R (on the application of Miller and another) v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union [2017] UKSC 5.
  4. European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, s 20(1).
  5. European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (Exit Day) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2019, SI 2019/859, reg 2(2).

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Examples of how to construct citations for footnotes

UK cases (see 'Law reports (cases)' in Cite Them Right)

Report citation with specific ‘pinpoint’ reference to a page

Footnote number. Name of parties involved in the case [Year] Volume number Abbreviation First page of report, page number (Judge's name). [Use square brackets for the year if it is needed to identify the volume of the law report].

1. Hazell v Hammersmith and Fulham London Borough Council [1992] 2 AC 1, 23 (Lord Templeman).

Report citation without specific ‘pinpoint’ reference

Footnote number. Name of parties involved in the case (Year) Volume number Abbreviation First page of report. (Use round brackets if each annual volume is numbered so the year is not necessary to identify the volume of the law report).

2. R v Edwards (John) (1991) 93 Cr App R 48.

Neutral citation with a specific ‘pinpoint’ reference to a paragraph

Names of parties involved in the case [Year] Court Number of case in that year [number of the paragraph].

3. Humphreys v Revenue and Customs Comrs [2012] UKSC 18 [8].

UK statute

Footnote number. Short title Year enacted, s section number(subsection number).

4. Human Rights Act 1998, s 6(1).

A Bill from the House of Commons

Footnote number. Short title House (Parliamentary session) [Bill number].

5. Transport HC Bill (1999–2000) [8].

Treaties

European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR)

The treaty that you will be most likely to need to cite is the European Convention on Human Rights. You can use this shortened wording in the main text of your work, and you should insert a footnote superscript after it.

In the footnote itself, you should use the full title, followed (if necessary), by the article number:

European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms art 50.

EU treaties

Instructions about how to cite the EU treaties are given under the heading ‘EU legislation, directives, decisions and regulations’ under the 'Legal' tab in Cite Them Right.

Other international treaties

The Cite Them Right version of OSCOLA requires more details about an international treaty than are likely to be given in your module units. If you cannot easily find all the details required by Cite Them Right, you can simply copy the full citation from your unit, and put it into a footnote.

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Referencing accessible formats

In accordance with the University’s Referencing accessible formats, individual arrangements will be made for students who advise the University that they have a disability that makes them unable to create references or to use the Cite Them Right version of Harvard or OSCOLA.

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