Referencing and avoiding plagiarism: OSCOLA Cases Video 4

Video titled: Referencing and avoiding plagiarism: OSCOLA Cases Video 4

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In this example we have a civil case, a family case, that was heard before neutral citations came into use, so it's pre-neutral citation. Northamptonshire County Council against Islington Council - we know from this case on Westlaw that it was heard in the Civil Division of the Court of Appeal, and there's a whole bunch of different places in which this case was reported.

So what we want to go do is to go from this Westlaw screen, this Westlaw report, to OSCOLA. It would be just the same in going from Lexus to OSCOLA as well.

So that's what we get from Westlaw. There's quite a lot. How do we turn that into OSCOLA? We take the names of the parties and put them in italics, first of all, including the “v.” between them. Westlaw and Lexus put the different places in which the case has been reported into order of precedence. So here we'll use the most authoritative report, one from the Incorporated Council of Law Reporting, family reports 2001 Family 364. We remove the dots after “family” because OSCOLA doesn't require what it considers to be unnecessary punctuation, - so, by and large, full stops do not form part of it.

If we had a neutral citation, we would know the courts in which this case was heard because it would be evident from the citation. It would be EWCA Civ - whatever. However, in this one we can't tell immediately where the case was held from the family law report citation alone. So what we do is add a reference to the court after the citation, which goes in round brackets. And here we'll just say CA for Courts of Appeal, round brackets afterwards. We knew it was the Courts of Appeal from the Westlaw report, so that is the OSCOLA citation for this particular case.

If we then wanted to go on and draw reference to a particular part of the judgment - let's say we wanted to draw reference to this bit - so you'll see two thirds of the way down the slide, we may want to refer to the part where the judge says, “my first comment is that the judge has somewhat elevated the vulnerability of the arrangement.” How do we do that? Because this is an older law report there aren't paragraph numbers, so we can't refer to a particular paragraph number. Instead, we have to drill reference to the page of the law reports where this section is. When you're looking at Westlaw on the screen, if you're not looking at a PDF copy of the printed law report, the way to find out where the page number is, is to scroll back up until you find a page number with a little star next to it. So on this one, we know that the comment that we're trying to reference was on page 376 of the printed law report. So how do we put that into our judgment, into our reference even? Starting with Northamptonshire County Council Islington as before, 2001 family 364 (the 364 there refers to the first page of the printed report). We want to draw a reference to page 376, so we simply put that after the attribution to the level of the court. So it's found 364, first page, Court of Appeal - we want to be at page 376.

If we want to be ultra-thorough (and why wouldn't we?), we could reference the judge that made at that particular comment. How do we do that? We scroll back up the law report until we find the name of the judge at the start of the passage to which we want to refer. So in this case, we're scrolling back quite a long way to page 367, but we know that we're looking at the judgments of Lord Justice Thorpe. So how do we add that to the reference? Very simply: at the end, “Thorpe LJ” in round brackets.

So that gives us a full reference to Northamptonshire County Council and Islington Council reported in the family law reports of 2001 at page 364 in the Court of Appeal referring to the Judgment of Lord Justice Thorpe at page 376. And that's it.