Statute (Act) of the Scottish Parliament [from Print source using APA 5th ed.]


Because the situation regarding legal references is complex, and only US law is covered in the APA Manual, the following guidance is based on the system recommended by the Institute of Criminal Justice Studies. It should not be followed by any student submitting work to the Law Department of Portsmouth Business School, and students working in other departments should consult their lecturers.

When using legislation in your work you must be certain as to whether or not you are dealing with the law as it was passed by Parliament initially, or the law as in force currently.

Standard Form

Acts of Parliament are not included in reference lists at all. However, on the first mention of the act a full citation is given stating:

Short title as printed on cover of the act (including capitalisation as shown but with no italicization) Date

NB No comma should appear between the word Act and the date.

Thereafter the short title or an accepted /recognised abbreviation of it can be used without the date if there is no cause for confusion.


In the case of Scottish statutes the word Scotland is normally included in brackets in the short title unless the Act is obviously a local one.

Erskine Bridge Tolls Act 2001

Edinburgh Tram (Line One) Act 2006

Local Government in Scotland Act 2003


Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005

Education (School Meals) (Scotland) Act 2003

Citation in Text

When citing in text you need to pinpoint your specific reference within the act. Rather than use page numbers it is often easier to use the internal numbering of the act itself.

... regulated according to section 26 of the Transport (Scotland) Act 2001.

Clearly s 1 of the Criminal Damage Act 1971 makes it an offence to ...

If you want to refer to several sections at the same time then, for example, write

Referrals under sections 2-4 the Protection of Children (Scotland) Act 2003 are ...

... investigations under ss 3-5 of the Scottish Public Ombudsman Act 2002 …

In case of amended legislation make the exact source quite clear, e.g.

Section 59 (2) of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995, as amended by the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000, states …


  • Prior to the Act of Union in 1707 Scots Acts may be cited by their short title where one exists.
  • If there is any chance of confusion it is important that you make it absolutely clear to your reader which country's law you are referring to. In such cases it is clearer to precede acts with a designation to clarify the jurisdiction, e.g. Scotland Leases Act 1449