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Self Paced Lesson - Legal Citation - Subject Guide

Tertiary & Secondary Materials

Legal materials are divided into three categories:

  • primary materials, which are documents that contain the law, such as cases and legislation
  • secondary materials, which are documents about the law, including books, commentaries, journal articles
  • tertiary materials, or 'reference materials' such as dictionaries and encyclopaedias, which are tools for starting or clarifying research

There is also a special category of document that falls somewhere in between the two called 'extrinsic' materials. Extrinsic materials are documents which can be used in court or in legal analysis to help determine the intention of a piece of legislation. Parliamentary debates (Hansard), Bills, and Law Reform documents are included in the extrinsic materials category.

This topic deals with the requirements for citing secondary materials.

Read through the information here, in conjunction with the rules to which you are referred in the AGLC. Once you have done this you can attempt the self test questions to aid your understanding of this topic.

You need to look at the details in the book itself to construct the citation.

The requirements are twofold with legal citation:

  1. first you must construct the footnote (AGLC rule 6.1); and
  2. then the entry in the bibliography (AGLC rule 1.13).

 

Footnote:

 

 Author + Title + (Publisher, edition, year) + Pinpoint.

 

Subsequent Reference

The full citation to a book or journal article is given only once in the footnotes.

The manner in which a subsequent reference is made depends on whether it is referring to a source in the immediately preceding footnote, or in a previous footnote other than that immediately preceding.

 

Where the subsequent reference is referring to the source in the previous footnote, i.e. footnote 5 is a subsequent reference to footnote 4, 'ibid' is used (see AGLC rule 1.4.3). Ibid is not to be used where there are multiple sources in the preceding footnote.

Where the subsequent reference is referring to a source other than in the previous footnote, 'above n' is used, where 'n' refers to the number of the footnote being subsequently cited (see AGLC rule 1.4.2).

 

These notes are not exhaustive, see AGLC rule 6 for other requirements for citing a book in your work.

 

Bibliography:

Print books:

            Author + Title + (Publisher, edition, year)

 

Note: In a bibliography entry where there is more than one author, only the first author's name is inverted. There is no full stop at the end of the citation in a bibliography (see AGLC rule 1.13).

 

eBooks:

Cite ebooks as you would a print book.

Typically URLs for ebooks are not provided in either the footnotes or the bibliography.

However, you may do so if you feel that it is important for clarity.

For example, if the print varied from the online version of the same edition of a title.

Parkinson, Patrick, Australian Family Law in Context: Commentary & Materials (Thomson Reuters (Professional) Australia Ltd, 7th ed, 2019) < https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/murdoch/detail.action?docID=5719162 >

Commentaries (updating services)

Commentaries (printed format is called a looseleaf service) are learned opinions, discussions or examinations of the law by professional and academics in specialised legal subject areas.

These updating services include commentary, relevant legislation and in some services either case notes or full text cases.

Online commentary and printed looseleaf services are considered to be "live books", and as such require similar elements for citation.

Online commentary services

The rules for citing online commentary services vary from the requirements for printed looseleaf services. See examples below:  

 

Notes:

If the looseleaf service is being viewed online, the volume number and comma after the title should be omitted (AGLC rule 7.8). 

If the online version contains information regarding the most recent service number, or the date of the last update, it is included in parentheses (brackets). If the online version does not contain information regarding the most recent service number or date of latest update, then the date the service is accessed is used instead.

This note is not exhaustive. Please see AGLC rule 7.8 for other details for citing looseleaf services.

 

Printed Commentaries (looseleaf services)

Author/publisher + publication title + volume + (at most recent service number for pinpoint reference) + Pinpoint reference. 

 

Notes: 

Printed looseleafs are updated by replacing outdated pages with new pages.

As stated in the AGLC, the release number or date of the paragraph (or pinpoint) being cited is usually found in the corner of the page (see AGLC rule 7.8 for further elaboration of service numbers).

Pinpoint references will be to paragraphs so should conform to AGLC rule 1.1.6, and appear in square brackets. ‘IR’ in the example above stands for “Information Release” which is the terminology used by the ASIC Digest (see AGLC rule 7.8).

 

Journal Articles

 

Once again the way an article is cited is determined by use:

  • in a footnote (AGLC rule 5.1);
  • or in a bibliography (AGLC rule 1.13).

These notes are not exhaustive. Please see AGLC Part 3 (particularly rules 5.1- 5.8) for details of citing journal articles.


Journal Articles from Online Journals

Rule 5.10

Articles sourced online should be cited in the same manner as articles in printed journals.

If the journal does not have a volume number, issue number, or starting page number, use the article number or some other identifier instead of the starting page number.

If the article appears as a PDF, give the page range* as the number of pages contained in the PDF.
* Use an en-dash to indicate a span between two numbers (How to insert an En dash or Em dash in Microsoft Word). 

Footnote:

 

Author(s), + 'article title' + (Year) + volume(issue) number details + journal title + page number +, pinpoint reference.  

Bibliography:

 

Author(s), + 'article title' + (Year) + volume(issue) number details + journal title + page number/range + <URL> 

 

Notes:

 As with a book, if there is more than one author of an article, only the first author’s name and surname should be inverted (AGLC rule 1.13).

The URL should be cited after the page number or pinpoint reference, but the date of retrieval should not be included (AGLC rule 4.4). 

 

These notes are not exhaustive.  Please see AGLC rule 5.10 for the requirements for citing articles published in electronic journals.

Journal Articles from Print Journals

Footnote:

 

Author(s), + 'Article Title' + [Year] + Journal Title + start page +, pinpoint. (If journal is organised by year)

Author(s), + 'Article Title' + (Year) + Volume (Issue) + Journal Title + start page +, pinpoint. (If journal is organised by volume)

 


Bibliography:

 Author(s), + 'Article Title' + (Year) + Volume (Issue) + Journal Title + start page

Notes:

As with a book, if there is more than one author of an article, only the first author’s name and surname should be inverted (AGLC rule 1.13).

 

Online Newspapers

An electronic newspaper article should be cited in the following form (rule 7.11.2):

Author, 'Title', Newspaper (online, Full Date) Pinpoint <URL>.

Pinpoint references should only be included where the article has pages or paragraphs (rule 6.5.3).

 

Printed Newspapers

Newspaper articles from printed newspapers should be cited in the following form (rule 7.11.1):

Author, 'Title', Newspaper (Place of Publication), Full Date, Pinpoint.

If an article appears in a named section of a newspaper such as 'Sport' or 'Business' and the page numbers throughout the newspaper are not sequential, the name of the section should be included before that of the newspaper in the following form (rule 7.11.1):

Author, 'Title', Section, Newspaper (Place of Publication), Full Date, Pinpoint.

For unsigned articles, the author's name should be omitted (rule 7.11.1). Where the article is an editorial, author should be replaced with "Editorial" as below:

Editorial, 'Title', Section, Newspaper (Place of Publication), Full Date, Pinpoint.

Where there is no punctuation in the source separating the title from a subtitle, a colon or an em-dash should be inserted.

Press and media releases should be cited  in the following format (AGLC rule 7.4):

Author, 'Title' (Release Type, Document Number, Body, Full Date) Pinpoint <URL>.

The release type should appear as it does on the statement, such as Press Release, Media Release or Press Statement.

Document numbers should only be used included if it appears on the release.

Where they are used they should be reproduced using any abbreviations as they appear on the release. Note however, that you should not include full stops in an abbreviation (rule 1.6.1).

If a URL is able to be included to aid in retrieval this should be included after a first reference to the release.

 

Reference materials include items such as dictionaries, encyclopaedias, directories and digests.
Tertiary materials are not generally cited as they are used as tools for starting or clarifying research.

If you are required to cite one of the legal encyclopaedia, you will need to follow the format specified in AGLC Rule 6.3:

Online Dictionary

Dictionary Title +(online at Retrieval Date) + 'Entry Title' (def Definition Number).  

Online Encyclopaedia

 

Publisher, + Title of Encyclopaedia, +(online at Full Retrieval Date) + title number + Title Name, + ‘chapter number + Chapter Name’ + [paragraph number].  

Print editions:

Publisher, + Title of Encyclopaedia, +vol # + (at full date) + title number + title name, + ‘chapter number + chapter name’ + [paragraph number].   

Note:

Where the encyclopaedia cited was accessed online, the date of last update should be included if it is available, as in both these examples.

The paragraph entry will make a comment that the information is current to a specific date. 

Where such a date is not given, the date of retrieval should be included. 

Where the encyclopaedia has been accessed online, the volume number should be omitted (ALGC rule 7.7). 

 

This note is not exhaustive.  Please see AGLC rule 7.7 for the requirements for citing legal encyclopaedia

Halsbury's Laws of Australia

The Laws of Australia


(A) Marriages Recognised as Valid

 

A source should only be cited according to 7:15 if it does not exist in a published form and no other rule applies.

Remember:

  • Citations of articles in electronic journals should adhere to rule 5.10
  • Citations of electronic newspapers should adhere to rule 7.11.2
  • Citations of blogs should adhere to rule 7.15

A citation of an internet document that is to be cited using rule 7.15 should appear in the following form (rule 7.15):

Author, 'Document Title', Web Page Title (Document Type, Full Date) Pinpoint <URL>.

Notes:

An author's name should be included if it is apparent from the webpage or document (rule 7.15).

The full date of the last update of the web page should be included where it is available. If this is not shown, include the full date of creation. A partial date is acceptable if given, and where no date is given the full date should be omitted from the citation (rule 7.15).

The date of retrieval of the material should not be included: rule 6.15.6.


Blogs

Citations of posts on blogs and online forums should take the following format:

Author of Post, 'Title of Post', Blog/Forum Name (Blog Post, Full Date of Post) <URL of Post>.

 

Activity indicator1. Which of these citations complies with AGLC rules when citing a book in a footnote?

a. Lisa Young, Feminists and Party Politics (UBC, 2000).
b. Young, Lisa, Feminists and Party Politics (UBC, 2000)
c. Lisa Young, Feminists and Party Politics (UBC, 2000).

Response:

 

 

Activity indicator2. Which of these citations complies with AGLC rules when citing a book in a footnote?

a. Crock, M. & Sual, B. Future Seekers: Refugees and the Law in Australia (Annandale: Federation Press, 2002).
b. Mary Crock and Ben Saul, Future Seekers: Refugees and the Law in Australia (2002).
c. Mary Crock and Ben Saul, Future Seekers: Refugees and the Law in Australia (Annadale: Federation Press, 2002).
d. Mary Crock and Ben Saul, Future Seekers: Refugees and the Law in Australia (Federation Press, 2002).

Response:

 

 

Activity indicator3. Which of these citations complies with AGLC rules when listing books in a bibliography?

a. Geoff Monahan and Lisa Young, Family Law in Australia (LexisNexis Butterworths, 7th ed, 2009).
b. Monahan, Geoff and Young, Lisa, Family Law in Australia (LexisNexis Butterworths, 7th ed, 2009)
c. Monahan, Geoff and Lisa Young, Family Law in Australia (LexisNexis Butterworths, 7th ed, 2009)

Response:

 

Activity indicator4. According to AGLC which of the following citations is the correct format for citing a looseleaf publication (or commentary) which you have accessed online?

a. LexisNexis, Wills and Probate Administration WA (at service 42) [10,000].
b. LexisNexis, Wills and Probate Administration WA (at service 42) 'Uncontested or Non-Contentious Probate Applications' [10,000].
c. LexisNexis, Wills and Probate Administration WA (service 42 at April 3 2013) [10,000].

Response:

 

Activity indicator5. Which of the following citations correctly follows AGLC rules when citing a journal article in a footnote?

a. Nonie Sharp, 'Australian Native Title and Irish Marine Rights: An Inquiry on the West Coast of Ireland' (1998) 16(2) Law in Context 34.
b. Sharp, N, 'Australian Native Title and Irish Marine Rights: An Inquiry on the West Coast of Ireland' (1998) 16: 2 Law in Context 34.
c. Sharp, N. 1998, 'Australian Native Title and Irish Marine Rights: An Inquiry on the West Coast of Ireland: Law in Context vol. 16, no. 2, pp. 34-48

Response:

 

Activity indicator6. Which of the following journal citations correctly follows AGLC rules for citing print journals obtained from an online source when constructing a footnote?

a. Gabriel A Moens, 'The Mysteries of Problem Based Learning: Combining Enthusiasm and Excellence' (2006-2007) 38 University of Toledo Law  Review 623 Heinonline (1 February 2008)
b. Moens, GA, The Mysteries of Problem Based Learning: Combining Enthusiasm and Excellence (2006-2007) 38 'University of Toledo Law Review' 623-700
c. Gabriel A Moens, 'The Mysteries of Problem Based Learning: Combining Enthusiasm and Excellence' (2006-2007) 38 University of Toledo Law Review' 623.

Response:

Activity indicator7. Which of the following journal citations correctly follows AGLC rules constructing a footnote for a journal article which is only available online?

a. Ernest Chau, 'Fan Fiction and Copyright: Mutually Exclusive, Able to Coexist or Something Else?' (2007) eLaw Journal: Murdoch University Electronic Journal of Law < https://elaw.murdoch.edu.au/archives/issues/2007/2/Elaw_fan_fiction_copyright.pdf > 215 at 22 January 2011
b. Ernest Chau, 'Fan Fiction and Copyright: Mutually Exclusive, Able to Coexist or Something Else?' (2007) eLaw Journal: Murdoch University Electronic Journal of Law 215 < https://elaw.murdoch.edu.au/archives/issues/2007/2/Elaw_fan_fiction_copyright.pdf >.
c. Ernest Chau, 'Fan Fiction and Copyright: Mutually Exclusive, Able to Coexist or Something Else?' (2007) eLaw Journal: Murdoch University Electronic Journal of Law 215

Response: