This guide is aimed at students who are new to finding legal information. It will take you through searching the Library resources, how to find your course readings, and also how to search key databases.
For many students the type of referencing required at university can be challenging. Don’t worry as there is lots of help and advice available to help you navigate this!
This page features resources which will provide an introduction to referencing for law, and details of two popular referencing styles accepted by the School of Law at Edinburgh, OSCOLA and the Edinburgh Law Review Style.
At the end of this page there are some examples to work through where you can see if you can spot common mistakes.
The Academic Support Librarians who support the School of Law at the University of Edinburgh have sessions on referencing and using OSCOLA on the Law Librarian Resources Channel, or by viewing the video above.
If you click through to the video on Media Hopper you will find slides for the session uploaded under the 'attachments' tab. We run this session once each semester, so for future dates please check the MyEd events booking system, or contact us directly by email.
Plagiarism is taken seriously within the university but helpful guidance and support is available if you're worried about this.
The University of Edinburgh subscribes to Cite Them Right Online- a resource that has lots of useful advice on referencing and plagiarism. It has examples of reference types in various styles.
The Oxford University Standards for the Citation of Legal Authorities (4th ed) is a specific style for legal citations.
Remember to use the most authoritative reference available for cases.
Cardiff University has created a course about citing the law- specifically using OSCOLA.
It is a useful introduction to the concept of legal referencing and how to use the OSCOLA style to do so.
OSCOLA is one of the accepted referencing styles at the University of Edinburgh, but you may prefer to use the Edinburgh Law Review Style instead. For more information on this style, please see the guide compiled by the Edinburgh Student Law Review.
PRACTICE TASKS: Referencing
Now that you're familiar with OSCOLA, try to identify the problems with the references below.
1. What is missing from this article reference?
Rodger, A. (1996) Thinking About Scots Law. [Online] 1 (1), 3–24.
2. What is missing from this book reference?
Walker, D. M. The Scottish legal system : an introduction to the study of Scots law. Eighth edition, revised. Edinburgh: W. Green/Sweet & Maxwell.
3. What is missing from this case reference?
Donoghue v Stevenson  562
4. What pages does this reference refer to?
Farran, S. (2020) Scots law: a system in search of a family? Northern Ireland legal quarterly. [Online] 61 (4)
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