Public communication [from Direct communication using OSCOLA]


Examples include a speech, lecture, seminar and announcement. Follow the general principles for citing secondary sources. If a source has an ISBN, cite it like a book. 


If the text of the communication is available as a print or electronic resource, and is recoverable, then this is what should be referenced e.g press release, website, speech etc. However, if the communication is not recoverable it should be treated in the same way as personal communications. Most lecturers would prefer you did not cite their lectures in your work but instead use the primary and secondary sources they have referred to themselves in the lecture. 

Generally, cite sources that do not have ISBNs in a similar way, but with the title in roman and within single quotation marks, as for journal articles

Standard Form

Author, 'Title' (additional information, publisher year)
Additional information may include a document number, a document description, a date of adoption and any other information that may help a reader to locate the source.
The publisher may be a government body or an organisation, and it is also possible that no publisher will be identifiable. Depending on the source, it may be more appropriate to provide the publication date, rather than the year.
If a source is available only online, then give the web address and the date of access.


Lord Bingham, ‘Keynote Address’ (Liberty conference, London, 6 June 2009) <> accessed 19 November 2009

Stavros Dimas, EU Environment Commissioner, 'Improving Environmental Quality through Carbon Trading' (Speech at the Carbon Expo Conference, Köln, 2 May 2007) <> accessed 29 May 2011

Reference List

These sources should be listed as secondary sources alphabetically by author in the Seconadary Sources part of your Reference List.


  • Consider if this is the best sort of material to refer to in your work. Are there recoverable sources which make the same point more authoritatively?
  • Lectures: the Law School at Portsmouth does not allow you to use lecture notes as a referenced source for your essays. You should use the reading list which your lecturer has given you and turn to those sources when writing your essay. If your lecturer has not indicated where they got their information, and you want to use it, go and ask for the source.
This source is not covered by the OSCOLA style manual. Suggestions on this page are modelled on FAQs on the OSCOLA website but have not yet been discussed and approved by the OSCOLA editorial board.