OSCOLA – Citing journal articles: The dilemma of round and square brackets

OSCOLA final

Are you working on your first written assignment this academic year and getting confused with OSCOLA citation? This post helps you clarify which brackets – (round) or [square] – you should choose when you are citing a journal article.

The general rule is that you need to use square brackets around the year if the journal you are citing uses the year rather than a consecutive number to identify the volume. Here is a relevant example:

Meghan Campbell, ‘Reigniting the dialogue: the latest use of the notwithstanding clause in Canada’ [2018] Public Law 1

If there is a separate volume number available for the publication, please, use round brackets:

Emma Lees, ‘Title by Registration: Rectification, Indemnity and Mistake and the Land Registration Act 2002’ (2013) 76 Modern Law Review 62

To help you, we created a list of journals available in our collections, which use year identification, so you need to cite them with square brackets.
NOTE that this is not a comprehensive list!!!

  • Acta Juridica
  • British Tax Review
  • Criminal Law Review
  • International Family Law
  • Journal of Business Law
  • Journal of Personal Injury Litigation
  • Journal of Planning and Environment Law
  • Lloyd’s Maritime and Commercial Law Quarterly
  • Private Client Business
  • Public Law

TIP! If you want to cite a forthcoming article, follow the exact same format you would with published journal articles but add ‘(forthcoming)’ following the citation. In case you do not have information about the volume or page numbers, simply omit that information.

If you want to learn more about journal citation, please read section 3.3.1 in the OSCOLA user guide for hard copy journals (page 37) and section 3.3.3 for forthcoming articles (page 38).

Don’t forget that you can also get help in Taylor Library, please visit our Help Desk from Monday to Friday between 09:00 -16.30.

Taylor Library Team
lawlib@abdn.ac.uk

 

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