This is the "Introduction" page of the "Australian Guide to Legal Citation Lesson" guide.
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Australian Guide to Legal Citation Lesson  

Last Updated: Oct 29, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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Introduction to Legal Citation

Legal Citation


Legal Citation is a standardized set of guidelines that allows the writer of legal discourse to refer to legal authorities and sources with enough clarity to enable the reader to find or follow those references.  This referencing of statements and sources of law must be done clearly, concisely and consistently to ensure efficient and accurate location of these resources. 

Citation is an essential part of writing at University. When you write in university you must acknowledge the books, journal articles and other information sources you use in your work. If you do not acknowledge your sources you are stealing another persons ideas and words, a serious offence in university.

This subject guide contains an online lesson detailing the requirements for citing secondary materials such as books, journal articles, commentaries and legal encyclopedias, as well as primary materials, such as cases and legislation.  Each topic within the lesson has a series of self test questions designed to assist you in your understanding of legal citation.  This lesson and associated self test questions take you through the process of learning how to use the Australian Guide to Legal Citation (3rd ed, 2010) to recognise and construct citations for the assignments you will submit in the Murdoch University School of Law.


The Australian Guide to Legal Citation:

There are many citation styles which can be adopted for use in different circumstances. In law schools the Footnote Citation method has been widely adopted. The reason this is preferred over others is because it takes into account primary legal materials.

The citation style which is followed by the Murdoch University School of Law is outlined in the  Australian Guide to Legal Citation (3rd ed) (AGLC3) produced by Melbourne University Law Review Association in collaboration with the Melbourne Journal of International Law.

The AGLC3 is a very detailed document. The purpose of this lessson is to introduce you to the AGLC3 and to highlight important features with which you will need to be familiar from an very early stage of your legal studies. It is therefore recommended that you familiarise yourself with the General Rules, found in Part I, and with the rules to which you are directed in the topics which follow.

As you progress through your studies, you will be expected to correctly cite more complex legal materials. The notes contained in this lesson are not exhaustive, and you will need to refer frequently to the AGLC3 for further elaboration.

There may be times when another citation style is required.

For instance, those undertaking criminology units, may be advised to comply with the  APA citation.  This takes into account the material  used in that discipline, such as psychological tests, statistics and case studies. 

Students in the Business School and other faculties may be required to use Chicago citation.

For information about these and other citation styles see the Library's referencing guides.

It is the responsibility of each student to confirm the citation style required before work is submitted. 



The next topic deals with the requirements for citing secondary sources such as books, journal articles and commentaries.



Legal Citation Lesson - Next Topic: Secondary Materials

Legal Citation Lesson

Next Topic: Secondary Materials


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