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Mountbatten Library

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Referencing: Law Resources
This leaflet provides guidance on how to cite legal resources in your assignments using the HARVARD
referencing style. The Law School recommends the NUMERIC System so Law School students SHOULD
NOT USE this leaflet and should consult Referencing: Law Resources Numeric System. If you are studying
a law unit as part of another course, you should check with your lecturer which system they require you
to use.

What do I need to know about citing references?
The reasons for citing a source are to enable someone reading your work to trace a document you have mentioned and
to avoid allegations of plagiarism by attributing work correctly. This is done by giving standard details about the
document often referred to as a bibliographic reference.

This leaflet covers legal materials that do not readily fit into the usual Harvard (Name and Date) System. For general
Harvard referencing, consult the Referencing leaflet. There are several systems for citing legal materials available in
the UK and you are advised that you should select ONE and ONE ONLY and NOT MIX THEM together.

In-text citations
The first time that you cite a case, you cite it in full with the party names and law report citation:

Example: Central London Property Trust Ltd v High Trees House Ltd [1947] KB 130

Unless it would not be clear to which case you are referring, you can generally refer to the case subsequently by the
first party names (e.g. Central London Property Trust).

For legislation, the name and date of the piece of legislation is placed within the text in italics: Environment Act 1995

Referencing sections and direct quotations:
If you are referring to specific page or paragraph within a case then include these after the reference.
When referring to particular parts of legislation, Acts are broken into sections (s. for section and ss. for sections),
schedules (sch) and paragraphs (para). Statutory Instruments are subdivided into either articles (art.) rules (r. or rr) or
regulations (reg or regs) and then paragraphs and sub paragraphs:

Case Examples: Pepper (Inspector of Taxes) v Hart [1993] A.C. 593, 594
Pepper (Inspector of Taxes) v Hart [1993] A.C. 593 at 594.

Legislation Examples: Environment Act 1995, ss.5-11; Environment Act 1995, ss.5-11, 14(1)(b)
Public Supply Contracts Regulations 1992 (SI 1992/3279) r.15(2)(b)(i)

If you wish to quote directly from a judgment put the quote in . You can shorten the quote by substituting text with
pauses ():

Example: This point was reinforced in the judgment of Diplock LJ in Hong Kong Fir Shipping Co Ltd v Kawasaki
Kisen Kaisha Ltd [1962] 2 QB 26, 70 when he said There are many contractual undertakings which cannot be
categorised as being conditions.

UK Cases
A law report citation typically includes the below. If you are not sure of the abbreviation for the law report series, you
can usually find the citation for the case at the start of the case or at the top of the pages:

Party Names. [Year of publication] Volume number if available Law Report Abbreviation Start page

Example: Macfarlane v EE Caledonia Ltd [1994] 2 All ER 1

Hannah Young, Information Librarian Law and Human Sciences
Email: Tel: 023 8031 9687 Library Office:

Use of square or round brackets - this depends on whether the date is essential to locate the case. If the date is essential
because there are multiple volumes each year, use square brackets. If the date is not essential because there is a unique
volume number, put the year of judgment (not the year of publication) in round brackets:
Example: Holdom v Kidd and Others (1986) 61 P&CR 456

Neutral citations - High Court and Court of Appeal cases from 2001 onwards have neutral citations. A neutral citation
includes the year of the judgment, the Court abbreviation (e.g. UKHL=UK House of Lords, EWCA=England and Wales Court
of Appeal) and the case number. This can be included before a law report citation, or if a case is otherwise unreported:
Example: R v Rezvi [2002] UKHL 1, [2002] 1 All ER 815

Unreported cases - some unreported cases can be found as transcripts or via the legal databases. A neutral citation should
be given where possible. Cases prior to 2001 should include: Names of the parties. Court. Date of judgment. For
additional clarity, you can include unreported:
Example: Hare v Pollard. Court of Appeal Civil Division. 16 June 1997 (Unreported)

Cases only available electronically - where a case is only available electronically you should indicate that you looked at it
online and include after your reference: [online] [viewed date]. Available from: internet address or database name
Examples: R v Greet [2005] EWCA Crim 205 [online] [viewed 16 June 2008]. Available from: Westlaw
R v Rezvi [2002] UKHL 1 [online] [viewed 16 June 2008]. Available from:

European Court of Justice Cases cite as follows:
Case number Name of parties Year Law report abbreviation Volume number Start page
Example: Case C-286/88 Falciola v Comune di Pavia [1990] ECR 1-191

- Acts are also known as Statutes. The title and date are included. Each Act has a chapter number which you can
additionally include, along with publisher information if required.
- Statutory Instruments are also known as Orders, Rules and Regulations. Cite the title and year and number of the SI
in italics. After the first mention, you can refer to them by title/year or SI number.
- Bills are proposals for legislation heard in both the House of Commons and House of Lords. Include the Short title
(Parliamentary session) Serial number. The serial number changes every time the Bill is reprinted. Include [ ] for
House of Commons bill numbers.

Act Examples: Environment Act 1995, Ch 25; Environment Act 1995, Ch 25. London: HMSO
SI Example: Insolvency Rules 1986 (SI 1986/925)
Bill Examples: Health and Safety at Work (Offences Bill) HC Bill (2002-03) [38]; Harbours Bill HL Bill (2002-03) 24

European Union legislation is cited as follows:
- Regulations: Institutional Origin (Institutional Treaty) Number/year Date it was passed Title
- Commission Documents (Com Docs): Title, COM (Last two digits of year) Serial number, draft or final.
- Directives and Decisions: Institutional origin Form Year/Legislation Number/ Institutional Treaty Date passed Title

Examples: Council Regulation (EC) No. 2078/92 of 30 June 1992 on the agricultural production method
Proposal for a Council Directive on uniform procedures for checks on the transport of dangerous goods, COM (93) 965, final.
Council Directive 92/83/EEC of 19 October 1992 on the harmonization of the structures of excise duties on alcoholic beverages

Government publications
A reference to a Command Paper is cited as follows:

AUTHOR(s), Year of publication. Title (Command paper number). Place of publication: Publisher.

Example: LAW COMMISSION, 2006. Parliamentary costs bill: report on the consolidation of legislation relating
to parliamentary costs (Cm 6846). Norwich: TSO

Legal Journals
They are usually cited like any other journals with the exception of certain established law journals, which are traditionally
cited like a law report. For these the details are cited in the following order:

AUTHOR. Year of publication. Title of article. Date of volume number abbreviated title of journal Page number

Example: TUR, S. 2003. Legislative technique and human rights. [2003] Crim L.R. 3.

Most journals will give the citation either on the cover or at the start of the article.

Need more help?
For more advice, see the Referencing factsheet and the How to succeed@referencing tutorial on myCourse.