Cases with neutral citations
The neutral citation style has been in use since 2001 when transcripts of cases were made available online, independent of any law reports. A neutral citation places the emphasis on the court where the case was heard, although the report information is still included in the citation if the case has been reported and this is where you are accessing it.
Name of case [year] court* number, [year] OR (year) volume report abbreviation* first page
Barclay v British Airways plc  EWCA Civ 1419,  QBD 187.
The above citation shows that the case was heard in the Court of Appeal Civil in 2008 and was case number 1419. The case was reported in the 2010 volume of the Queen’s Bench Division of the law reports (note that the report did not have a volume number denoting the year so the brackets containing the date are square - see below).
*Do not use full stops in the abbreviations.
Case without neutral citiations
For older citations the neutral citation information may be missing, cite as shown below.
Name of case [year] OR (year) volume report abbreviation first page (court)
Adam v Ward  AC 309 (HL).
The above citation tells you that the case was heard in 1917 in the House of Lords and reported in the Appeal Cases law reports.
Square v round brackets
Square brackets are used when the year denotes the law report volume. If the volume number denotes the year published, use round brackets. Note that volume numbers may still be present, when using square brackets if the report has been issued in more than one volume for that year. If there isn’t a volume number use square brackets.
In the first example below, volume 88 of the Criminal Appeal Reports denotes the year, so round brackets are used. In the second example, the Appeal Cases series of reports are published by year, hence the square brackets. This particular year was published in more than one volume and the case mentioned was published in volume 2.
Reg v Barr (1989) 88 CrAppR 362 (CA).
Pattni v Ali  UKPC 51,  2 AC 85.
1. If there are multiple parties use, only the first claimant and/or defendant.
2. Abbreviate common words and phrases, e.g. DPP - Director of Public Prosecutions. Appendix section 4.2.4 of the OSCOLA 4th edition has a list of acceptable abbreviations.
3. Give the full name of the case when it is first mentioned in the text or footnotes and then abbreviate in subsequent mentions.
R v Tompkins (1977) 67 CrAppR 181 could subsequently be referred to as Tomkins in the text and footnotes.
4. If the name of the case is stated in the text, there is no need to repeat it in the footnotes.
In the text:
In R v Boardman1 the judge…
In the footnote:
1(1977) 67 CrAppR 181.
Which reports to use
The Incorporated Council of Law Reporting Law Reports are considered to be the most authoritative, so use these reports if possible. This series of reports includes the House of Lords/Supreme Court, Privy Council (Appeal Cases), Chancery Division, Family Division and Queen’s Bench. If your case is not reported in the Law Reports, then cite the Weekly Law Reports or All England Law Reports. If you still cannot locate the case, then use specialist reports such The Criminal Law Reports or Criminal Appeal Reports.
Include the paragraph numbers at the end of the citation in square brackets. If you are pinpointing to more than one paragraph, put each number in square brackets and separate with a comma or dash if the paragraphs are in sequence.
Barclay v British Airways plc  EWCA Civ 1419,  QBD 187 , .
Barclay v British Airways plc  EWCA Civ 1419,  QBD 187 -.
If the pinpoint follows a citation with the court in brackets at the end, do not include the square brackets.
Adam v Ward  AC 309 (HL) 2, 8.
Adam v Ward  AC 309 (HL) 9-13.
If you wish to include reference to the judge at the end of the citation, include it in brackets at the end of the citation.
Furnell v Whangarei High Schools Board  AC 660  (Lord Morris).
How the name is cited depends on the judge’s status or rank, common examples include:
Justice – (Brown, J)
Lord Justice – (Brown, LJ)
Lord (Lord Brown)
Judges of the Supreme Court (Lord Brown SCJ)
Use the judge’s surname name – only use the first name if there are two judges with the same name; if this is case include the first name of the most junior judge.
See OSCOLA 4th edition section 2.1.7 for a full account of how to cite a judge’s name.
If you have mentioned the full details of legislation in the text, there is no need to include it in the footnotes. But if the name of the Act or relevant section is not named, the full details must be included in the footnotes. If you need to include references to an Act several times in quick succession, abbreviate to the initials of the main words and include the date:
2 Mental Health Act 1959.
Parts of statutes
Statutes can be subdivided in the following ways:
Parts of Statutes
In the text, use the full form at the beginning of a sentence or where the Act name is not repeated. In the footnotes use the abbreviated form.
Health Act 1999, s 2.
National Health Service (Consequential Provisions) Act 2006, s 8(2)(a).
National Health Service (Consequential Provisions) Act 2006, s 6, sch 4.
National Health Service (Consequential Provisions) Act 2006, sch 2, pt 1(3) and pt 2(13).
When referring to paragraphs within sections, put the paragraph number/letter in brackets after the section and don’t include ‘para’. So in the second example above we are referring to paragraph ‘a’ of subsection 2 of section 8 of the National Health Service Act.
Title HC Or HL Bill (session) [number] clauses/parts – see part of statutes
Taxation (Cross-border Trade) HC Bill (2017-19) .
Taxation (Cross-border Trade) HC Bill (2017-19)  s 24(2).
Title year, SI number
Antarctic (Recognised Assistance Dog) Regulations 2016, SI 2016/697.
Note that the SI number is formed from the year and number.
SIs used to be called statutory rules and orders - cite in the same way, but use SR or O, followed by the number.
It is possible to abbreviate in the footnotes after the first full citation, so the above example could be
If you are referring to a part of an SI , add the part at the end in the following way
Parts of SI
Microchipping of Dogs (Wales) Regulations 2015, SI 2015/1990, reg 5(1).
The above citation would pinpoint to regulation 5, paragraph 1.
Since 1972 EU legislation, notices and information have been published in the The Official Journal of the European Communities. This is abbreviated to OJ. Series information is included in the citations: L for legislation, C for EU information and notices and S for invitations to tender.
Title [year] OJ series issue/first page
Treaty of Lisbon amending the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty establishing the European Community  OJ C306/1.
If you are citing Regulations, Directives, Decisions, Recommendations or Opinions, include the legislation type, number and title before following the above convention. Note that the year precedes the running number in Directives, but follows it in Regulations.
Regulation (EC) 852/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the hygiene of foodstuffs  OJ L139/1.
Directive (EU) 2016/681 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the use of passenger name record (PNR) data for the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of terrorist offences and serious crime  OJ L119/132.
Short forms and pinpoints
It is possible to abbreviate in the text and footnotes after the first full citation. So the above citation could be abbreviated to the PNR Directive. In the footnotes you can just use the document type and number, so
When pinpointing include the part/paragraph information as shown for Statutory Instruments.
European Court of Justice and General Court
Since 1989 case numbers have been prefixed in the following way:
- C - European Court of Justice (ECJ). Do not add a C for pre-1989 cases
- T - General Court (GC) (CFI until 2009)
- F - Civil Service Tribunal
Where possible cite from the official reports – ECR. ECJ case are reported in volume 1 - ECR I-. GC cases are reported in volume 2 - ECR II-.
Case number case name [year] report abbreviation first page
Case T-263/07 Estonia v Commission  ECR II-3463.
Joined Cases T-218-240/03 Boyle v Commission  ECR II-1699, paras 5-7.
If a case is as yet unreported, use the notice citation from the OJ.
Case T-812/17 Seco Belgium and Vinçotte v Parliament  OJ C52/39.
The European Court of Human Rights
For cases post 1996 cite from the official reports, Reports of Judgements and Decisions (ECHR) or the European Human Rights Reports (EHRR). Be consistent in the report series you choose to use. Cases prior to 1996 were reported in a series called Series A and numbered consecutively.
Case names (year) volume, law report abbreviation first page number
X and Y v Netherlands (1985) 8 EHRR 235.
Kjeldsen v Denmark (1976) Series A no 23.
For unreported cases give the application number and then (ECtHR, date)
Hristoskov v. Bulgaria App no 50760/09 (ECtHR, 15 February 2018).