Answered By: Lisa Hawksworth
Last Updated: Sep 05, 2017     Views: 8441

Yes, you can abbreviate the subsequent citations of the source. If the subsequent citation is in the footnote immediately following the full citation, you can use ‘ibid’. Used alone, ‘ibid’ means ‘in the very same place’ – in other words, the same source and the same page or paragraph as the preceding full citation. Alternatively, ‘ibid 345’ means ‘in the same work, but this time at page 345’.

If there are other footnotes in between the original footnote and the next time the source is cited, use a shortened version of the source title, with a cross-citation in brackets to the footnote in which the full citation can be found (n).


For cases, a shortened version of the case name is usually enough in subsequent citations. For example:

1 Austin v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis [2009] AC 564. (full citation)

2 ibid 567. (citation immediately after the full citation, referring to the same case)

10 Austin (n 1). (a shortened citation later in the work, with a cross-citation to the full citation).


For legislation, include an abbreviated or shortened version of the title at the end of the first full citation, in brackets. You can then use this in subsequent citations without needing to cross-refer to the full citation. For example:

12 Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA 1998) s 7. (full citation, with an abbreviated title at the end)

23 HRA 1998, s 33. (subsequent citation, using the abbreviated title).


For secondary sources such as books or journal articles, you can use the author’s surname in subsequent citations. If you have several books or articles written by the same author, use the author’s surname with a shortened version of the book or article title, so your reader knows which source by that author you are referring to. Here are two sources written by Andrew Ashworth, a book and a journal article, and the example shows how to cite each one multiple times, using the author’s surname and a short version of the title:

Full citations, used the first time the source is cited:

4 Andrew Ashworth, ‘Testing Fidelity to Legal Values: Official Involvement and Criminal Justice’ (2000) 63 MLR 633, 635.

22 Andrew Ashworth, Principles of Criminal Law (6th edn, OUP 2009) 68.

Subsequent citations, using the author surname and a shortened version of the title:

45 Ashworth, ‘Testing Fidelity to Legal Values’ (n 4) 637.

47 Ashworth, Principles of Criminal Law (n 22) 45.

You can also include the full citation each time you cite a source, but this would increase your word count and is not advised.


See the OSCOLA referencing page for more guidance.


Please note you should always refer to any departmental/school guidelines you’ve been given.

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