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Footnotes have 2 parts:

(1) a marker in the text (a number) to indicate where a source was used in your text

(2) at the end (or foot) of that same page, the citation to the source used in your text (the number in the text matches the number at the foot)


It's good academic practice not to cite any case, article or other source that you haven't read.7



7.  Steve Foster, Legal Writing Skills (5th edn, Pearson 2019).


It's good academic practice not to cite any case, article or other source that you haven't read (Foster, 2019).

How: Create footnotes in Word by first clicking in the text where you want to insert a footnote, then click on References, then Insert Footnote, or use the shortcut CTRL-ALT-F (view the brief tutorials below for a guide)

Where: The footnote can appear at the end of a sentence (after the full stop) or within the sentence, at the point where you mention anything needing a footnote.

When to add footnotes:

  • Statements of law: cite the relevant case or statutory provision
  • Direct quotation: cite the source from a book, article, case, or other material
  • Any fact or opinion that you use in your paper that is not your original thought

For more information on quotes, see p. 8 of the OSCOLA guide.

If you use your own words to express an idea that is specific to a particular writer (a judge in a case, an opinion in a book), cite that source even if you explain the idea in your own words.  But, if you have read several textbooks to get an overview of the topic and the same idea is expressed in each one, then you may not need a specific reference when expressing this idea in your own words, because information that is widely known may be considered "common knowledge".  

When in doubt, reference it.

Reference List / Bibliography

The information presented in the footnote is the same as in the reference list except for the author's name:


Elizabeth Fisher, Risk Regulation and Administrative Constitutionalism (Hart Publishing 2007).

Reference list: 

Fisher E, Risk Regulation and Administrative Constitutionalism (Hart Publishing 2007)


You may not need a bibliography - ask your lecturer.  If you are asked to create a bibliography for an undergraduate assignment, this usually goes at the end of your paper.  The bibliography lists all of the sources used in your work. Each source only needs to be listed once, even if you have referred to it multiple times.  

Usually, the bibliography is divided into three sections: Cases, Legislation and Secondary Sources

  • Cases - List the cases alphabetically in order of the first significant word.  Do not italicise case names. You should list the cases alphabetically in order of the first significant word. The exception to this is cases where R is the first party, in which case you should list them under the second name. 

  •  Legislation - Include every statute listed in your work, along with the section numbers. Legislation is listed in alphabetical order. Statutory Instruments are listed separately, after Statutes.

  • Secondary Sources - List all secondary sources in one list, alphabetically by author surname.  If citing more than one work by the same author, list the author’s works in chronological order (oldest first), and in alphabetical order of the first major word of the title within a single year.  For unattributed works with no author, list these at the beginning of the reference list, in alphabetical order by first major word of the title.

Post-graduate dissertations:

The Table of Cases, Table of Legislation and any other primary sources are listed at the beginning of your paper, in this order:  table of cases; table of legislation; other tables. See p. 10 of the OSCOLA guide.