Australian Guide to Legal Citation Style [Part-2]

Australian Guide to Legal Citation Style. Image source: ECU library guides
Australian Guide to Legal Citation Style. Image source: ECU library guides
Aklima Sharmin
Written by Aklima Sharmin

Special Features of the reference style followed for legal citation.

* There are two versions of the legal citation style: 1. Footnotes Only – Use this version for writing short documents, e.g. journal articles; 2. Footnotes plus Bibliography – Use this version for writing longer works which require a bibliography at the end, e.g. theses and books.

* Legal citation style is to sources referred to or quoted in the text are provided in footnote entries.

* The first citation to a source should be given in full. The terms ‘ibid’ and ‘above n’ are used to refer to sources previously cited.

o Ibid
– ‘Ibid’ is used when the source and pinpoint reference in the immediately preceding footnote is the same source and pinpoint being cited in the current footnote. (The ‘pinpoint’ is the particular page/s, paragraph/s, etc. that we refer to.)
– If the source is the same but the pinpoint reference differs, the term ‘ibid’ is followed by the relevant new pinpoint reference.

o Above n
– If the source being cited has been previously cited, but not in the immediately preceding footnote, ‘above n’ should be used to refer to that previous citation.
– ‘Above n’ should not be used for cases and legislation.
– Citations using ‘above n’ should appear as follows: Author’s Surname, above n Footnote Number, Pinpoint.
– A full stop is added at the end of every footnote.

Examples of ‘ibid’ and ‘above n’:
3 Eric Barendt, Freedom of Speech (Oxford University Press, 2nd ed, 2005) 163.
4 Ibid.
5 Ibid 174-5.
6 Defamation Act 2005 (Vic) s 37.
7 Ibid s 38.
8 Barendt, above n 3, 69.

* Below here we found some example of AGLC Style for legal citation style

Case Law: Reported Decisions
1. Case Law: Reported Decisions: The citation details that must be included for reported decisions, in order are:
* Case Name – cite only the first plaintiff and defendant, in italics.
Year – (Round) brackets are used when the volumes of a law report series are organised by volume number. [Square] brackets are used when the volumes are organised by year (i.e., where the report series does not have volume numbers, or where the volume numbering recommences at the start of each year).
* Volume
* Report Series – use the abbreviation for the report series.
* Page – cite the number of the first page of the case report.
* Pinpoint – a comma and a space should precede specific page references.

La Trobe University v Robinson and Pola [1972] VR 883.
R v Kenny [1983] 2 VR 470.
Trobridge v Hardy (1955) 94 CLR 147, 148.

Case Law: Unreported Decisions
2. Unreported Decisions with a Medium Neutral Citation: Unreported decisions with a medium neutral citation should be cited as follows:

Name of case [Year] Unique court identifier Judgment number (Date of judgment) [Pinpoint].

R v Swaffield [1998] HCA 1 (20 January 1998) [8]-[9].

3. Unreported Decisions without a Medium Neutral Citation: Unreported decisions without a medium neutral citation should be cited as follows:

Name of case (Unreported, Court, Judge(s), Date of judgment) Pinpoint.

Smith v Jones (Unreported, Supreme Court of Victoria, Nathan J, 18 March 1994) 56.

4. Legislation: Acts Citations for Acts should include:
* Title – Acts should be referred to by their short title, in italics.
* Year
* Jurisdiction – use the abbreviation for the jurisdiction, in parentheses.
* Pinpoint – abbreviate the section, paragraph etc of the Act.

Trustee Act 1928 (Vic) s 10.

5. Legislation: Bills


Evidence Bill 1994 (Cth).

6. Legislation: Australian Constitutions   

Australian Constitution s 51(xxix).
Constitution Act 1867(Qld) s 2.

Printed Materials
7. Book: The citation for a book should consist of:
* Author – include the full name (first name first and surname second) followed by a comma.  List the full names of up to three (3) authors or editors. Where there are more than three authors, the name of the first author should be included, followed by ‘et al’. In a bibliography, the surname of the first author appears first.
* Title – main title should be in italics and written in full.
* Publication Details – includes publisher, edition, year of publication, in parentheses.
* Pinpoint – the reference is preceded by a space.

Footnote: Malcolm N Shaw, International Law (Cambridge University Press, 6th ed, 2008) 578.
Bibliography:  Shaw, Malcolm N, International Law (Cambridge University Press, 6th ed, 2008)

8. Edited Books: Chapters in edited books should be cited in the following format:
* Author/s
* ‘Chapter Title’ in Editor (ed/s)
* Book Title (Publication Details) Starting Page
* Pinpoint.

Angus Francis and Neil Andrews, ‘Insolvency Law in Taiwan’ in Roman Tomasic (ed), Insolvency Law in East Asia (Ashgate, 2006) 125, 130.

9. Journal Articles: Print journal articles should include, in the following order:
* Author – include the full name of the author followed by a comma.  List the full name of up to three (3) authors.
* Title – place the full title in single quotation marks.
* Year – if a volume number identifies the journal, place the year in ( ) ; if the journal is identified by year, place the year in [ ].
* Volume and issue – issue numbers should appear in parentheses after the volume.
* Journal – use italics for the full name of the journal.
* Page – cite the number of the first page of the article.
* Pinpoint – the pinpoint reference is preceded by a comma and space. When the pinpoint reference is in the first page of the article, the page number of the article should be repeated.

Sir Anthony Mason, ‘A Bill of Rights for Australia?’ (1989) 5(2) Australian Bar Review 79, 81.

Electronic document
10. Electronic Journal Articles: Electronic journal articles should only be cited as electronic materials when a printed edition of the journal does not exist.  Electronic articles should be cited in the same manner as articles in printed journals (using whatever details are available), followed by the website’s URL. This is the mandatory for this legal citation style.

Lyndon Griggs, ‘Torrens Title in a Digital World’ (2001) 8(3) Murdoch University Electronic Journal of Law [16] <>.

11. Other Internet Materials: Citations for Internet materials should include:
* Author – a personal author or name of organization responsible for the website, followed by a comma.
* Document Title – this should be in italics.
* Date – this should be included where available, in parentheses.
* Website Name – when author and website name are identical, website name should not be included.
* Uniform Resource Locator – Where the full URL of a document appears cumbersome and the document can be located easily from a general website, the URL of the general website may be included instead.


John Corcaran, Timor,Tampa and Technology (2001) Law Institute of Victoria <>.

Oxfam International, Flooding in the Philippines Highlights Urgency of Climate Leadership (28 September 2009) <>.

12. Legal Encyclopedias Online: Citations to legal encyclopedias viewed online should be in the following format:
Publisher, Encyclopedia Title (at Date of retrieval) Title number Name of Title, ‘Chapter number Name of Chapter’ [Paragraph number].

LexisNexis, Halsbury’s Laws of Australia (at 25 May 2009) 235 Insurance, ‘2 General Principles’ [235-270].

[This example for legal citation style is taken from the Melbourne University Law Review Association, Australian Guide to Legal Citation (3rd ed, 2010)]

About the author

Aklima Sharmin

Aklima Sharmin

Aklima Sharmin is working as a Divisional Education Coordinator (Dhaka and Chittagong Area), World Vision Bangladesh, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

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