Legal sources (case law and legislation)

If you need to reference Acts of Parliament, other legislation or case law follow the examples given. There is no case law or legislation style given in the British Standard. Law students would normally use a different style called OSCOLA. We have used this to give you examples to follow.

Legislation – UK and Scotland
Acts of the Scottish Parliament

Example of in text citation: Victim and Witnesses (Scotland) Act 2014

For Acts of the Scottish Parliament you can provide the asp number in brackets after the year.

Title of the Act and Year, asp number (in italics) [online]. [viewed date]. Available from: https://...

Example: Victim and Witnesses (Scotland) Act 2014 (asp 1) [online]. [viewed 18 February 2016]. Available from: www.westlaw.co.uk

Acts of UK Parliament

Cite an act by its short title and year using capital letters for the major words and without a comma before the year: Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015

To reference an Act give the website or database where you found it.

Title of the Act and Year, Chapter number (in italics) [online]. [viewed date]. Available from: website

Example: Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015, c.2 [online]. [viewed 18 February 2016]. Available from: www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2015/2/contents

Secondary legislation – UK and Scotland – statutory instruments

Statutory instruments are numbered consecutively throughout the year. The SI or SSI number is created using the year and number.

Title of the SI or SSI (in italics), SI or SSI number [online]. [viewed date]. Available from: website

Example: Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 (Commencement) (Scotland) Order, SSI 2014/221 [online]. [viewed 18 November 2016]. Available from: www.westlaw.co.uk

For European Union legal sources, refer to the OSCOLA full guide (http://www.law.ox.ac.uk/publications/oscola.php) pages 28-32.

Case Law

If you can you should use the Session Cases law reports – the authoritative series of law reports in Scotland and you should cite these where possible. Session Cases includes cases from the Court of Session Inner House and Outer House (SC), the High Court of Justiciary (JC), the House of Lords and Supreme Court (SC (HL) or SC (UKSC)) If the case is not reported in the Session Cases refer to another report series.

For English cases, you should cite the Law Reports if you can. These are published in four series: Appeal Cases, Queen’s Bench, Chancery Division and Family Division. Alternatively you should cite the Weekly Law Reports or the All England Law Reports then any other law report.

Follow the legal format given in the resource used.

Cases from Scotland - published cases

Case name, Year REPORT ABBREVIATION First page number

Example: Doogan v Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board, 2015 SC (UKSC) 32

Example: Sutherland Estates v Sutherland 1998 SLT (Land Ct) 37

Cases from England and Wales – published cases

Case name [year] Volume (if required) REPORT ABBREVIATION First page number

Example: Regina (Evans) v Attorney General [2014] QB 855

Unreported or unpublished cases

In the first instance look for the ‘neutral citation’ made up of the abbreviation for the court and date: [2016] EWHC 2793 (QB)

Case name [year] Court Number 

Example: Ian Whyte v Bluebird Buses Limited [2015] CSOH 56

Example: Haile v London Borough of Waltham Forest [2015] UKSC 34

For cases which are not reported and which do not have a neutral citation, simply give an abbreviation of the court and the date of the judgment in brackets after the party names.

Example: Angelika Ilona, Countess Cawdor v Cawdor Castle (Tourism) Limited (CSOH, 7 November 2002)

Example: Stubbs v Sayer (CA, 8 November 1990)

Citing a paragraph in a judgment or a page in a case report

A pinpoint is a reference to a specific part of a case report or judgment. When citing a paragraph in a judgment this should be given in square brackets after the citation. Multiple paragraphs should be separated by a comma, or shown as a range if appropriate.

Pinpoints to a page in a law report should follow the first page of the report and be separated by a comma.

Example: University and College Union v The University of Stirling [2015] UKSC 26 [16]-[19]

Example: Cadder v HM Advocate 2011 SC (UKSC) 13, 27

For more information on OSCOLA is available online.