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Legal Citation

General Rules

Don't Forget!!

Read this guide in conjunction with the Australian Guide to Legal Citation.

Legal Abbreviations

Case law and journal citations are made up of the abbreviation for the case report series or journal.
To find the unabbreviated case report series or journal title you can look at a number of different sources:

Cardiff Index to Legal Abbreviations

Raistrick's Index to Legal Citations and Abbreviations

Thomson Reuters' Firstpoint Table of Abbreviations

The Australian Guide to Legal Citation (ALGC) Referencing Guide

The La Trobe University Legal Abbreviations Database

When in CaseBase in Lexis Advance you can access an Abbreviation/Subject List from the help menu.

LCANZ - Legal Citations of Aotearoa New Zealand

Law Quick Guides

General Rules

The general rules of the AGLC are detailed in Part 1 and must always be followed.
These rules explain when you should footnote, how to quote and a variety of other key points. 

The University of Melbourne Law Librarian has put together a list of Quick AGLC Tips.

Alternatively, thanks to our friends at UnISA, you can watch 10 Quick Tips on How to Use the ​AGLC(3) which addresses the most common citation mistakes.


Rule 1.1.1 states that footnotes should be used to:

  • provide authority,
  • acknowledge a source and its relevance,
  • enable retrieval of relevant sources,
  • provide additional information that is not appropriate for the body of the text.

Footnotes should always be used to follow a direct quotation unless the full information about the source is provided in the body of the text (rule 1.1.1).

Where multiple sources are cited in one footnote, such as when there are two relevant but different sources that provide authority to what is said in the body of the text, they should be separated by a semicolon ; (rule 1.1.3).

All footnotes should end in a full stop . (rule 1.1.4).

Footnotes that are to sources other than those directly quoted or support the point you are making in the main text, e.g. additional information, can include introductory signals to indicate the relationship between the source and what is said in the text. Rule 1.2 sets out the appropriate introductory signals and their meanings.

Pinpoint References

Footnotes should include pinpoint references where you are referring to a specific page, paragraph, footnotes or other section of a source (rule 1.1.6).

Pinpoint references to a page should appear as a number while pinpoint references to a paragraph should appear as a number within square brackets (rule 1.1.6).

Spans of pinpoint references, such as multiple pages or sections should be separated by a non-spaces en-dash - (rule 1.1.7)

Subsequent References

The first citation of a source should appear in full (rule 1.1.1). Subsequent references to that source need not be in full, but must follow the rules for short titles (rules 1.4.4), above and below (rule 1.4.2) and ibid (rule 1.4.3).

Short titles are an abbreviated form of the title of a source. A short title should be used at the end of the first full citation of a source so that it is clear what the short title refers to. The short title should appear in italic text and be enclosed in (non-italic) inverted commas and parentheses (round brackets) after any pinpoints in the original citation (rule 1.4.4). Specific rules on what constitutes a short title are found through the AGLC, see rule 3.9.1 for short titles of Acts, delegated legislation, Bills and other legislative materials.

Ibid is to be used to refer to a source in the footnote just before, where that source is the only source mentioned, whether or not the source was cited in full (rule 1.4.3). 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.

Above and below deals with citations from the same source that occur in non-sequential footnotes. For instance, I am citing source A in footnote 1 and 3, but source B is in footnote 2. 'Above n' is to be used in footnote 3 to refer to source A in footnote 1. 'Above n' is to be used where ibid cannot be used as there are multiple reference in the immediately preceding footnote (rule 1.4.3).

There are some restriction on the use of 'above n' such as cases and legislation - see rule 1.4.3 and rule 3.5 for more details.