Skip to Main Content
The University of Edinburgh home
Show/hide site search
Information Services


Welcome to the Law Subject Guide - giving you information on library resources and services.

Referencing and avoiding plagiarism

Understanding how and knowing why referencing is important will help you avoid plagiarism.

Resources to help with accurate referencing and understanding what plagiarism involves are detailed below.

Reference management software packages-  you do not need to use online reference management software, but they can be very helpful especially with larger pieces of work such as dissertations. 

Referencing Overview

The University of Edinburgh subscribes to Cite Them Right Online- a resource that has lots of useful advice on referencing and plagiarism. 

The Oxford University Standards for the Citation of Legal Authorities (4th ed) is a specific style for legal citations. 

The guides can on occasion not give full details of every type of material. 

If the material is not in the OSCOLA guidelines then refer to the OSCOLA FAQs section on the Oxford University website.

Remember to use the most authoritative reference available for cases. 

Avoiding plagiarism

Plagiarism is taken seriously within the university but helpful guidance and support is available:

  • Good Academic Practice Course- This course is available to all Law students through Learn and outlines what is expected in relation to the rules within the University, as well the wider topic of good academic practice. To enrol, go to Learn via MyEd and use the 'course catalogue' button in the top right of your screen. Search for 'Good academic practice' and use the small downwards arrow next to the course title to select 'enrol'. 
  • The webpages of the Academic Services have a section on Plagiarism, including links and information.
  • The Institute for Academic Development has information and guides available on Referencing and avoiding plagiarism. 
  • The Digital Skills and Training Team offer workshops, workbooks and webinars on EndNote.
  • The Academic Support Librarian Service can also offer assistance.

Also remember that your programme handbook will have information and guidance on this issue.

Referencing and OSCOLA Resources- Online tutorials

The Academic Support Librarians who support the School of Law at the University of Edinburgh have sessions on Referencing and using OSCOLA specifically on the Law Librarian Resources Channel. You can access the latest Referencing session recording by following this link, or viewing the video below. 

The Library at Newcastle University has a video that shows how to use EndNote with OSCOLA. 

Full details are at:



The Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (IALS) has training materials on OSCOLA. 

These material are free-to-use. They are aimed initially at PhD and MPhil students but will be of interest to anyone looking at legal research or wishing to develop their legal information literacy skills. 

The full range of courses are available at: #LawPORT


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.

 Citing the Law: Referencing Using OSCOLA.


Cite them Right Online has a specific section on OSCOLA. 

The section covers things such as the general principles, the different materials, pinpointing, cross-referencing, as well as having examples available to view:

Reference Management Tools

Reference management software lets you store, annotate and group references and also automatically creates citations and reference lists in your documents. There are a number of different reference management software tools available. 

For more information and details on these tools and help and training links visit the Reference and Reference Management Subject Guide:

Reference and Reference Management Subject Guide

Remember: Not all databases will export citations to Reference Management Software, this includes LexisLibrary. Westlaw will export articles but not cases or legislation.