What is the Reference in Law Essays?

All academic work requires accurate and consistent referencing. You must mention it when you refer to someone else's work or ideas, or when you are influenced by someone else's work. Similarly, if you make a direct quote from someone's work, it must be properly referenced.

There are a variety of referencing systems. This article is based on the Oxford Standard for Citing Legal Authorities (OSCOLA), but it differs slightly from OSCOLA in a few minor ways. The Harvard System is mentioned in this article as well.

Why use the referencing style?

  • Speech marks and a clear reference to the source must be used to show that parts of someone else's work were used.

  • Quotes and references that are accurate provide credit to both you and those whose work you have used.

  • References and quotes show how much research you've done and how much reading you've done. They also make it possible for others to follow up on the work you've done.

How to Cite a Source

  • Each reference must include a link to the source's details, as specified below.

  • Significant quotations (three or more lines) should be single spaced, indented from the margin, and preceded by a colon.This guarantees that your words and the words you're citing are clearly distinguishable.

Plagiarism might occur if you do not properly reference your work. This is a disciplinary offence under the University's Assessment Regulations, is considered cheating (whether deliberate or not), and will almost always result in a zero on the coursework. More significant repercussions are expected to follow. You should be aware that the Law Society and Bar Council require all candidates for membership to declare if they have ever committed an act of plagiarism or cheating in any form of assessment, and that two referees make written declarations to the Society on the subject. You should also keep in mind that businesses are hesitant to recruit people who have been convicted of dishonesty.

Keeping track of your sources of information as you research and gather materials for your answer is very important. This way, when you write up and list them in your law essay, you can easily find and recognise them.

By far, the most popular referencing system in legal classes is the Harvard system.

The Harvard Referencing System

The Harvard Referencing notion is thought to have started in a paper published in 1881 by scientific scholar Dr. Edward Laurens Mark, who supported one of his report conclusions with the name and date of his predecessor's work (Pears & Shields, 2016). In today's world, academic institutions such as schools, colleges, and universities employ the Harvard reference system to provide a reading source list (Pears & Shields, 2016). According to Choy (1994), the primary goal of Harvard referencing is to allow researchers to identify the books, academic journals, and other important sources they used in their essay or report in a qualitative manner.Furthermore, according to Butler et al. (2010), Harvard referencing assures that a report or essay is properly proven and based on reliable academic knowledge. Indeed, according to Pears and Shields (2016), reports or essays that do not use the Harvard reference system are not as well appreciated in the field as those that do, mostly because these reports and essays will lack academic foundation.

In-text citations are another type of Harvard referencing in which a researcher is required by their academic institution to supply page numbers for all sourced material in the main body of the report. Another important aspect of the Harvard referencing system is the inclusion of a well-organized reference list as an appendix to the report or essay, which ensures that the reader has the opportunity to learn more about the subject (Pears & Shields, 2016). Also, it's important to note the difference between a reference list and a bibliography, because both terms are sometimes used when talking about Harvard reference lists at the same time.

The Oxford Style of Citation

In this reference style, footnotes are used instead of in-text citations. Although this is the most prevalent citing style in legal research work (found in most legal papers and journal articles), the Harvard referencing style is encouraged in your undergraduate law major.

The following are the main components of the Oxford referencing style:

  • A superscripted footnote follows the quoted content in the body of the text.

  • A bibliography at the conclusion of the essay includes full references to the works or publications referenced, with footnotes at the bottom of each page indicating the entire references for each citation.

Each university has its own referencing system, and the referencing requirements for each course may change even more. Therefore, you should carefully review your unique course instructions.