Statute (Act) [from Print source using OSCOLA]


When using legislation in your work you must be clear 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

As a footnote:

Title of Act Year, Section if required.

Abbreviations of sections of statutes are only to be used in footnotes. When referring to a section of an Act in text, pinpoint references should be written in full e.g.

The application of section 15 of the Human Rights Act 1998, in particular sub-section 15(1)(a) has shown that ...

Section 5 of the Licensing Act 2003 states that...

If you are referring to a particular Act a number of times in short succession, it is usually possible to use an abbreviated form of the title in the footnotes, without cross-citation, provided the reader has been warned in advance. The abbreviation is usually the initials of the main words in the title, and should always include the year, e.g.

1Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA 1998), s 4(1).


5HRA 1998, s 8.


1Building Act 1984.

Drugs Act 2005, ss 3-8.

3 Human Rights Act 1998, s 15(1)(a).

Licensing Act 2003, s 5.

Mental Health Act 2007.

Welfare Reform Act 2012, ss 11, 15(2).

Reference List

List statutes in alphabetical order under the heading Legislation and subdivide Legislation into Statutes and Statutory Instruments as appropriate.

No full stop is required at the end of an entry in a Reference List as this is a list.



  • It is assumed that legislation referred to is that for the United Kingdom. If this is not the case, indicate jurisdiction after the date e.g. Companies Act 1993 (NZ).
  • In the text, it is acceptable to abbreviate without any prior warning, e.g. the 1998 Act, but only where this short form is sure to be understood.
  • It is assumed that you are referring to the statute as amended, and therefore you do not need to cite the amending Act or state which database you have retrieved the text from.
  • Reference: Faculty of Law, University of Oxford, OSCOLA: Oxford Standard for the Citation of Legal Authorities (4th edn Oxford University 2010) 23-25.