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Law (HE): Referencing and Plagiarism

Why Reference?

There are several reasons why referencing is important.

  • So your tutor can easily find the information source you have referred to in your assignment
  • To show the research that you have done in completing your assignment
  • To acknowledge the work of others 
  • To avoid claims of plagiarism
  • To refer back to in case you wish to find those sources again

You should get used to keeping track of all your sources (books, journal articles, websites) and learn how to cite and reference them properly. Use this guide to help. 

Useful books

Help with referencing

How to… Reference Law (Harvard Style with footnotes)

References are required to identify all the sources of information used by you, allowing your reader to check the evidence on which your argument is based.  It also is your way of avoiding accusations of plagiarism by attributing the work of other people correctly. There are several different styles of referencing - at Bradford College we use the Harvard system.  Law students are expected to use a footnotes system in the Harvard style.  Whenever you mention a case, statute, a judgement, or discuss someone else’s argument, you must include a reference in the text and in your bibliography.

Footnotes.  Use these when you are quoting or paraphrasing different authors in your work. 

You should reference sources by using footnotes which appear at the bottom of the page.  They should usually be placed at the end of the sentence. 

Direct quotations should be included inside quotation marks “.....................”.  Quotations longer than 3 lines should be placed in an indented paragraph.  For more detail and examples, click on the relevant tabs. 

While it can be useful to quote from judgments and legislation, when referring to commentary in books or journals, it is usually best to paraphrase.  This shows that you have understood the information you have read and are able to apply it as part of your own argument.  For example:

Rivlin argues that the common law, developed over the centuries, is highly prized because it is based upon what the courts would expect a 'reasonable' person to do in the situation under discussion 1

1. Rivlin, G (2009) Understanding the Law, Oxford: OUP, p..25

Bibliography or Reference List (References at the end of the text) 
 
A bibliography should mention:
Works you have mentioned in your text; 
Works from which you have quoted directly; 
Works from which you have read in preparation for writing the assignment. 
 
A reference list should mention:
Works you have mentioned in your text; 
Works from which you have quoted directly; 
 
It is important to be clear and consistent in your layout and punctuation. 
Books, journal articles, reports, URLs etc should all be listed in one alphabetical sequence.  Note the position of commas and full-stops in the following examples.   
 
NOTE: Westlaw & LexisLibrary can help you find the complete citation.  In Westlaw, look at the case analysis document or journals result list after “Citation”.  In Lexis, check the top of the journal article or the top right hand corner of the case report. 

Series of law reports are usually referred to by the abbreviation of the title.  You may have seen All ER for All England Law Reports, WLR for Weekly Law Reports or AC for Appeals Cases of The Law Reports.  

Footnotes

To reference cases printed in law reports, include the party names in italics, the neutral citation if available, and the report citation (the volume and first page of the law report).  Give the page or paragraph number if you are including a quote from the text or are paraphrasing an argument.  The case below was reported in the King's Bench series of The Law Reports. 

R v White [1910] 2 K.B 124, 130

Always go directly to the report itself if you want to use it in your assignment.  However, if you only want to refer to a case mentioned in a textbook, include the reference to the case and the book.

R v White [1910] 2 K.B 124 (cited in Jefferson, M. (2006) Criminal Law, 7th ed. Harlow: Pearson, p.49)  

Bibliography or Reference List

Italicise the name of case.  Enclose the date in square or round brackets as appropriate.  Include the Neutral Citation if available, and the main Law report citation (AC, Ch, QBD). If case is not cited in Law Reports, give All ER or WLR, or failing that, a specialist report.

Neutral Citations started to be used from 2001 onwards in response to the growing number of cases published online via sites such as BAILLI, and for unreported cases.   

Party Name Neutral Citation (Year of Publication, Court, Case Number), Law Report Citation (Year of Publication, Volume, Abbreviation, Start page)

R (Roberts) v Parole board [2005] UKHL 45, [2005] 2 AC 738.  

You may find that some cases have the date in round brackets - this is where the date isn't essential to the reference (ie if there is a unique volume number).  You will usually be able to find the correct format of the citation online or in textbooks. 

European Union cases

Include the Case number Party Names [Year] Law report abbreviation Volume number - Start page

Case C-26/62 Van Gend en Loos v Nederlandse Administratie der Belastinge [1963] ECR 1

Where possible, refer to the European Court Reports (ECR) or the Common Market Law Reports (CMLR) - available on Westlaw. You can find the reported case in the Case tab in Westlaw. 

UK Legislation

Footnotes (References within the text)

To reference legislation, include the name and date of the piece of legislation in italics.  Use s. for section, pt. for part and sch. for schedules.  

Children Act 2004 s.2 (3) (a)

Bibliography or Reference List

Use the short title of Act and year Act received Royal Assent. Chapter number can be included.  

Children Act 2004 (c.41)

For Statutory Instruments, include the SI number in brackets.

Insolvency Rules 1986 (SI 1986/925) 

 

European Union Legislation

Primary legislation comes in the form of treaties.  When citing these, give the title, year of publication, Official Journal (OJ) series number and issue or page numbers. 

Treaty of Lisbon amending the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty establishing the European Community [2007] OJ C306/01

Secondary legislation comes in the form of Regulations, Directives and Decisions. In your reference, include the Legislation type, its number and title, Official Journal (OJ) details which include [year] OJ series Number/Page.

Regulation 1005/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 September 2009 on substances that deplete the ozone layer [2009] OJ L286/1

Footnotes 

Books with one author

Surname, Initial (Year) Title of Book.  Edition.  Place of Publication: Publisher

Poole, J. (2012) Textbook on Contract Law. 11th ed. Oxford: OUP, p72. 

If you use references to the same text further on, you can abbreviate subsequent footnotes to just the author, date and page number.   

Poole 2012 p76

Quotations longer than 3 lines should be placed in an indented paragraph. 

Books with more than one author - list all authors

Surname, Initial. and Surname, Initial. (Year) Title of Book.  Edition.  Place of Publication: Publisher

Elliott, C. and Quinn, F. (2018) Criminal Law. 12 ed. Harlow: Pearson

Bibliography or Reference List

The information you need to reference a book is normally on the title page and overleaf.  The library catalogue can also be used to find publication details.  Remember you don't need to include the page number in a reference list. 

Author, Initial (Year) Title of Book.  Edition.  Place of Publication: Publisher

Wilson, S. (2018) English Legal System. 3rd ed. Oxford: OUP

Books with more than one author - list all authors

Surname, Initial. and Surname, Initial. (Year) Title of Book.  Edition.  Place of Publication: Publisher

Elliott, C. and Quinn, F. (2018) Criminal Law. 12 ed. Harlow: Pearson

Footnotes

Include volume number, issue number and the page number from where you got the quote. 

Author surname, Initial. (Year) 'Article title'. Journal Title. Volume number (issue number)., page number

Holbrook, J. (2007) ‘The Sliding Snail’. New Law Journal. Vol. 157 (7258) p168

If you use references to the same text further on, you can abbreviate subsequent footnotes to just the author, date and page number.   

Holbrook 2007 p170

Bibliography or Reference List

References should include author, date of article, article name, journal title, volume, edition, issue or part number, and start and end page numbers.  If the article is online, include the database and accessed date

Holbrook, J. (2007) ‘The Sliding Snail’, New Law Journal. Vol. 157 (7258) p168-169. Available from: LexisLibrary [Accessed 2nd September 2014]

Halsbury’s Laws

Give the volume and paragraph number.  You don’t need to include authors or the title of the section.  For the electronic version, include the database and accessed date.  It can be difficult to work out how to reference Halsbury's Laws - just ask at the Library Information Desk if you are struggling. 

Footnote: Halsbury’s Laws (5th edn, 2013) vol 75, para 605.  

Reference list: Halsbury’s Laws (5th edn, 2013) vol 75, para 605.  Available from: LexisLibrary [Accessed 07/06/2018].

Westlaw Insight

Include the author, title and updated date. 

Footnote: Walker, L. (2018) 'Manslaughter', Westlaw Insight.

Reference List: Walker, L. (2018) 'Manslaughter', Westlaw Insight. Available from: Westlaw.co.uk.  [Accessed 9th May 2019]

 

For any material from the Internet, cite the URL. Use the name of the author, department or organisation responsible, and include the publisher details if available.  In your reference list, add the date that you looked at the site in square brackets at the end.  

Footnotes (References within the text)

To reference an online publication, include page numbers if possible.

Victim Support (2017) A commitment to victims, p.10 Available from: https://www.victimsupport.org.uk /sites/ A-commitment-to-victims-2017.pdf 

For Law Commission reports:  Include the Law Com number.  When citing in-text, give the paragraph numbers

Law Commission (2008) Reforming Bribery, (Law Com No 313) para 3.12. Available from: http://www.lawcom.gov.uk/app/uploads/2015/03/cp185_Reforming_Bribery_consultation.pdf 

Bibliography or Reference List

For any material from the Internet, cite the URL. Use the name of the author, department or organisation responsible, and include the publisher details if available.  In your reference list, add the date that you looked at the site in square brackets at the end. 

Victim Support (2017) A commitment to victims. London: VS. Available from: https://www.victimsupport.org.uk /sites/ A-commitment-to-victims-2017.pdf [Accessed on 1st March 2018] 

For Law Commission Reports, include the Law Com number.  

Law Commission (2008) Reforming Bribery, (Law Com No 313).  Available from: http://www.lawcom.gov.uk/app/uploads/2015/03/cp185_Reforming_Bribery_consultation.pdf [Accessed on 1st March 2018] 

 

For Government publications: Government publications presented to Parliament are known as Command Papers - you may have heard of white papers (policy initiatives and proposals for legislation), green papers (consultation documents), reports of the Royal Commissions, responses to consultations, departmental statistics and annual reports. Most but not all Command Papers are published in a numbered series. 

In your reference, list by the names of the authors or department.  Include report numbers, command paper number, Hansard volume and column numbers etc.  If citing a specific section, include it in your footnote. 

Footnotes

Department for Education (2018) Treating students fairly: response to the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee report (Cm 9689), p.9  

Edmonds, T (2015) Five Years of Bank Reform, Library Research Paper RP15/13, London: House of Commons, p.3. Available from: https://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/RP15-13

Reference List or Bibliography

For government publications, the author is usually a government or government department.  The Stationery Office (formerly HMSO) is the Government’s publisher but check on the document.  In a bibliography / reference list, you don't need to include page numbers unless you are just referring to a section of a report. 

Edmonds, T (2015) Five Years of Bank Reform, Library Research Paper RP15/13.  London: House of Commons.  Available from: https://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/RP15-13 [Accessed on 1st March 2018] 

Hansard is the official record of debates, speeches, oral and written answers or statements and petitions in the Houses of Parliament (Commons and Lords).  You can search or browse Hansard debates online here: http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/hansard/.

To reference, you should be able to find all the details on the Hansard site.  The volume number appears at the top of the screen with the name of the debate.  The column number appears along the side of the debate.

The order should be as follows: 

  • Abbreviation of House (HC or HL) and Deb (for Debates)
  • Date of debate in round brackets
  • Volume number
  • Column number
  • Available at: URL
  • [Accessed: date]

Footnotes:

HL Deb (14 October 2014) vol.755, col.152. Available at: https://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2014-07-15/debates/14071553000431/SeriousCrimeBill.

Reference list:

HL Deb (14 October 2014) vol. 755, cols. 152-153. Available at: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/hcdeb1990 [Accessed: 19 August 2010].

 

This is a very useful tool within Microsoft Word and is worth getting familiar with as soon as you start writing your first assignment. 

In-text citation

Along the top of your Word document you will see tab called References (you may be familiar with using this to add footnotes).  To add an in-text citation, put your cursor at the point where you want your reference to appear. Click on References and choose Harvard.   Select Insert Citation.  Choose Add New Source. Choose the type of source that you are citing - book, journal article, web-site etc. Then fill in the details.  Once you have saved your citation, the information will be available for you to use again. 

Bibliography / Reference List

Once you have added your citations, you can create a bibliography with that information. Put the cursor where you want the bibliography to go, then select References and choose a format. Then click on Bibliography and click on Insert Bibliography.

Adding new citations

If you add new citations to your document, you can update your bibliography by right clicking anywhere in your list and selecting Update Field. 

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