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Citing and referencing legal resources using Harvard

A guide covering citing and referencing legal materials using Harvard, including examples for case law and legislation.

Purpose of this guide

This short guide is intended to provide you with examples of citing and referencing legal materials using the Harvard system. It is aimed at students on courses at the School of Arts & Social Sciences. If you are a law student, please refer to the OSCOLA citing and referencing guide instead.

Why is citing and referencing important?

When you produce a piece of academic work, it is important to acknowledge any other sources that you have used. Citing and referencing is the way that you acknowledge other people's ideas and work in your own essays, assignments and dissertations.

Remember that if you do not cite and reference your sources, or if you cite and reference them incorrectly, you could face penalties for academic misconduct and plagiarism.

What is the difference between citing and referencing?

Citing is where you indicate within the body of the text the author and the year the work was published.  You should also include the page number in your citation if you are quoting from a particular page, or using ideas from a particular page.

The reference comes at the end of your essay/ assignment/ dissertation, where you give the full bibliographic details of the information, so that someone reading your work can find or trace the source for themselves. Your reference list should be in alphabetical order, i.e. in alphabetical order of author surname (or title, if you cannot find the author's name).

Cite them right

The Harvard system of citing and referencing has many variations. For the purposes of this guide, we have largely based the conventions on those found in the book and online resource Cite them right by Richard Pears and Graham Shields. A link to the book (available at City Libraries) and the online resource (accessible via your City username and password) can be found below.