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AGLC - Referencing Guide

General Rules

General Rules

The General Rules of the AGLC, detailed in Part I, must always be followed.

These rules explain when you should footnote, how to quote and a variety of other key points. 


Indicating the Relevant Citation in the Text

A number in superscript format, placed in the text of the essay, indicates the relevant footnote.

Citations are numbered sequentially in the order in which they appear in the text and each citation corresponds to a numbered footnote containing publication information about the source cited.

The notes generally serve two purposes: to cite sources and to make cross-references to previous notes.

Footnotes are listed at the bottom of the page on which a citation is made.


Rule 1.5.1 Quotation marks

Short quotations (of three lines or less) should be incorporated into the text using single quotation marks.


Rule 1.7 Capitalisation

Titles of all cited materials and headings, capitalise:

  • first word of a title or heading
  • first word of a subtitle
  • first word of a subheading
  • word following the hyphen in a hyphenated word
  • all other words in the title except
    • articles  eg a, an, the
    • conjunctions  eg and, but
    • prepositions  eg before, in, of, on, to, with, within


Rule 1.1.1  When to Footnote

Footnotes should be used to:

  • provide authority for a proposition
  • acknowledge a source relevant to an argument
  • provide information that enables the retrieval of relevant sources and quotations that appear in the text
  • provide other information that is not appropriate to include in the text

Direct quotations should always be followed by a footnote unless their source is provided in full in the text.

The first citation of a source should appear in full.


Rule 1.1.2  The Position of Footnote Numbers

Footnote numbers should appear after the punctuation at the end of a sentence.

However, footnote numbers may appear directly after the relevant text (after any punctuation except em-dashes) if this is necessary for the sake of clarity.


Rule 1.1.3  Multiple Sources in Footnotes

Where multiple sources are cited in one footnote, a semicolon (;) should be used to separate the sources.

For instance, when there are two relevant but different sources that provide authority to what is said in the body of the text.


Rule 1.1.4  Closing Punctuation in Footnotes

A full stop should appear at the end of every footnote.


Rule 1.6.3 Dashes, Hyphens and Slashes

Amend quotations to adhere to this rule (other than hyphenation)

em-dash (—)

Indicates an interruption within a sentence
Placed on both sides of a parenthetical remark or apposition
To produce an em dash in Word, press  Alt+Ctrl+ - (minus sign) on the numeric keypad  OR  Alt+0151
How to insert an En dash or Em dash in Microsoft Word without a keypad

en-dash (–)

Half the length on an em-dash
Indicates span between two numbers
Used to mark a tension or disjunction between two concepts in preference to a forward slash (/)
To produce an en dash in Word, press Ctrl + - (minus sign) on the numeric keypad OR Alt+0150
How to insert an En dash or Em dash in Microsoft Word without a keypad

hyphen (-)

Half the length of an en-dash
Connects the parts of a compound word

forward slash (/)

Used to separate alternatives


Rule 1.1.6  Pinpoint References

Footnotes should include a pinpoint reference when referring to a specific page, paragraph, footnotes or other section of a source.

Pinpoint references to a page should appear as a number.
Pinpoint references to a paragraph should appear as a number within square brackets.


Rule 1.1.7  Spans of Pinpoint References

Spans of pinpoint references, such as multiple pages or sections, should be separated by a non-spaced en-dash.


Type of Pinpoint










Rule 1.4.1  Subsequent References General Rule

The first citation of a source should appear in full (rule 1.1.1).

When citing a previously cited source, a shortened form of the citation may be provided with a cross-reference in parentheses to the footnote number in which the citation may be found in full.

48  Catharine MacMillan, Mistakes in Contract Law (Hart Publishing, 2010) 9.   
50  MacMillan (n 48) 41.


Rule 1.4.3  Ibid

Use ibid to refer to a source in the immediately preceding footnote, including any pinpoints, where that source was the only source mentioned, whether or not the source was cited in full.

Ibid should be capitalised if it appears at the start of a footnote.

When using ibid with pinpoint references:

  • if the pinpoint is the same as the above footnote, ibid is all that is required
  • if the pinpoint differs, use ibid followed by the new pinpoint. There is no punctuation between ibid and the pinpoint.


Rule 1.4.4  Short Titles

Short titles are a shortened form of the title of a source.

A short title should be provided at the end of the first full citation of a source so that it is clear that this refers to the source. 

The short title should appear in italic text and be enclosed in (non-italic) single quotation marks and parentheses (round brackets) after any pinpoints in the original citation.

Specific rules on what constitutes a short title are found through the AGLC, see rule 3.1.1 for short titles of Acts, delegated legislation, Bills and other legislative materials.


In text reference:

These decisions were Pape v Federal Commissioner of Taxation ('Pape')81 and Williams v Commonwealth [No 2] ('Williams [No 2]').82


81 (2009) 238 CLR 1 ('Pape')

82 (2014) 252 CLR 416 ('Williams [No 2]')


Rule 1.5  Quotations

Quotations of 3 lines or less should be incorporated into the text using single quotation marks.

Quotations of 4 lines or more should appear indented from the left margin, in a smaller font size, and without quotation marks.

Legislative and treaty extracts, however long, may also appear this way.

Quotations should appear exactly as they do in the original source.

Check the AGLC for exceptions.


Rule 1.5.6  Closing Punctuation of Quotations

Quotations of 3 lines or less should not have closing punctuation included.

Quotations of 4 lines or more should have the closing punctuation included in the quotation.


Rule 1.9.1  Official Dictionary for Spelling

Spelling should comply with the latest edition of the Macquarie Dictionary.
Where alternative spellings are given, the first-listed should be used unless there is a good reason to do otherwise.

Where a word is not included in the Macquarie Dictionary, the Oxford English Dictionary should be used.

This will generally mean the British English spelling is preferred to American variants.

Hyphenation should comply with the latest edition of the Macquarie Dictionary.
If a compound expression does not appear in the Macquarie Dictionary, it should be hyphenated (not spelled as one word).


Rule 4.1.2  Multiple Authors

One, two or three authors - include all authors.

The word 'and' should separate the names of the last two authors.

Four or more authors - include first author, followed by 'et al'. 

2  James Edelman and Elise Bant, Unjust Enrichment (Hart Publishing, 2nd ed, 2016).

3  Paul Rishworth et al, The New Zealand Bill of Rights (Oxford University Press, 2003).
5  Edelman and Bant (n 2) 260. See Rishworth et al (n 3).


Rule 4.4 Uniform Resource Locator ('URL')

A URL may be included to aid retrieval.

Enclose the URL within pointed brackets ('< >').

Place the URL at the end of the citation after any pinpoints, but before a short title.

Do not include retrieval date.


Rule 1.12.2 Heading Levels

Heading Level Attributes
HEADING LEVEL ONE Upper-case Roman numeral not italicised; heading in large and small capitals and centred
A Heading Level Two Upper-case letter not italicised; heading italicised and centred
1 Heading Level Three Arabic numeral not italicised; heading italicised and left-aligned
(a) Heading Level Four Lower-case letter and heading italicised and left-aligned
(i) Heading Level Five Lower-case Roman numeral and heading italicised and left-aligned



Document Type

  Document type should be reproduced as it appears on the source

  Omit reference to document type in the document tile - include within parenthesis for document type (Rule 7.1.1)

  Do not repeat document type where the document type forms an integral part of the document title (Example: 'Annual Report') (Rule 7.1.1)


Blog Post

Interim Report

Research Note



Research Paper

Conference Paper

LLM Thesis

Research Report

Consultation Paper

Media Release

Seminar Paper

Discussion Paper

Parliamentary Paper


Final Report

PhD Thesis

Web Page

Forum Post


Working Paper


Research Discussion Paper


Relevant Rules:

  7.1.1 Reports and Similar Documents

  7.1.2 Parliamentary Papers, Committee Reports, Bills Digests and Alert Digests

  7.1.4 Law reform Commission Publications

  7.1.5 Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Materials

  7.2.1 Research Papers, Theses and Similar Documents

  7.2.5 Theses and Dissertations

  7.15 Internet Materials

See the All Examples page for examples of in-text and reference list entries for specific resources such as articles, books, and web pages.