How to reference your law essays?

When it comes to essay writing, it is essential to cite the materials you consulted during the essay writing process. You can refer to sources you used by paraphrasing someone else’s content using your words r by directly copying someone else’s words. Quoting is done by introducing single quotation marks to enclose a short quote or writing a longer quote n a new line using single spacing. Referencing is done not only to avoid plagiarism cases but also to give the reader a chance to refer to the main source in case they want to know further details on the subject of discussion.  Crediting the sources, you used in your essay also provides the reader an easy way they can access the same research to make confirmation of your work. Legal writings like law essays can be a reference to both primary and secondary sources. Several options can be used to refer to different sources; books, articles, court cases, online sources and official publications can be cited differently. The main ways which law essays are cited include:

  • Footnotes

Footnotes are normally used to reference information or quotations a writer may have borrowed from any material. The acknowledgment of these sources is done to uphold the writer’s integrity while at the same time to provide a cross-referencing for the reader. Footnotes are preferably short. You can input the footnote at the end of the information borrowed from the other sources. If you have ether used a book or a journal article you can use footnotes to cite the source.

  • In-text citations

In-text, citations are done within the text you are writing. Whenever you refer to a source, you are required to include a superscript number in the text. The superscript number will be indicated by a footnote at the bottom of the page it is at the footnotes when you should give details of your reference. You can use in-text citation after your sentence, however; it is advisable to insert it right after the quotation or reference you make.

  • Bibliographies

Bibliographies appear at the end of the paper and are more detailed than footnotes. It is composed of a list of sources that you used when writing the essay.  It can be books or official publications. The listing of bibliographies is done in a sequence that presents how you will list the author, title of the article pages of the article and year of publication and other details of the source. Bibliographies are listed from the oldest source to the most recent source. Bibliographies are somewhat similar to footnotes. However, the surname of the author appears before the initial, and it is followed by a comma. Start listing the primary sources followed by the secondary sources when writing the bibliography

  • Subsequent citations

Subsequent citations are also used as a form of referencing sources. When using subsequent citations, start by writing the source. You can then give a cross citation in brackets where the footnote is located. When using this citation to cite secondary sources, only the surname of the author is required. If however, you have used several materials of the same author you can also include the title of the work in short form. When citing a case, use the short form of the case name whereas when citing the legislation you may use abbreviations.

  • Cross-references

Cross-referencing is where you can direct the reader to points of discussion in other parts of your essay. When using cross-referencing as a way of referencing; try to make it straightforward for the reader. Direct the reader to areas of your essay that will not be difficult to locate. Try to keep your cross-reference within the same chapter to avoid contradicting the reader.
law essay case

Different reference materials are cited differently when it comes law paper essay writing

  • Journals

When making a list of journal reference start by giving author’s initial name followed his or her surname. Then write the title of the article in the journal in inverted commas and mention the year of publication, the volume, issue, and the journal name then followed by the page references. It is permissible to use an abbreviated name for the title which is mostly provided on the first page of the article. The name of the author should be maintained as it was when the journal was first being cited.  The year should be put in brackets and the tile o the journal should be in italics.

In footnotes, the author’s first name precedes the surname. You will then give the title of the article and give the publication information of the journal. Write the year of publication followed by the volume number and the name of the journal either in full or in abbreviation.

  • Books

When giving the book listings list; state author’s initial or initial then give the author’s surname. Write the title of the book in italicized form and clearly state the edition of the book if only it is not the first edition. As you write the title ensure the first letter in each principle begins with a capital letter. Give the location of the publications of the book, the name of the publisher and the year the book was published in that order. No punctuation should be included between the publisher and the year. In case the book was written by two individuals write the names of both authors however if the authors exceed two just include the name of the first author. When citing an expert from a book with many chapters written by different writers cite the expert as a book and write the author as the author of the book.  If the book has no author, instead it has an editor or translator, list either of the parties as the author of the book. The editors name should however be followed by the ‘ed’ or ‘eds’

In footnotes remember that the author’s initials come before the surname. The name is then followed by a comma and then the title of the book. Separate the title and the subtitle of the book using a colon. After the title, write the publication information.

  • Court cases

The list of court cases is given after you have made the list of bibliographies. The list should be listed in an alphabetical order starting with the name of the case. Court cases are referenced beginning with the name of the parties which should be italicized. The names should be written exactly how they appeared when the case was first cited. The citation which is supposed to be in roman print includes the date, the volume number, law report, page number and the court abbreviation.

  • Electronic sources

When giving reference of your essay it is essential to also include any online sources or website that you may have used for the research. Start by writing the name of the author followed by the website you visited and also include the accessed date. Some online publications may lack the date of publication and the name of the author which in this case, you may begin your reference with the web address. In case there is any additional information it can be included before naming the publisher.

  • Legislations

Constitutions are regarded as laws and are cited the same way as legislation. Give the short title of the statute followed by the number of the statute and the year of enactment. Do not use any punctuation marks.  You may use abbreviations for sections and paragraphs but do not start your reference with an abbreviation.

  • Quotations

You can include long quotations into your work. However try to keep the long quotations to a maximum length of three lines. Make use of single and double quotation marks when incorporating quotations in your essay. In case you want to include quotations within existing quotations use double quotation marks. After closing the quotation and included the punctuation mark that is where the footnote comes.  When you include the quotation at the middle of a sentence endure you begin writing it with capital letter if only it is a complete sentence.

  • Newspaper articles

Give author’s name then the title of the article. When citing the newspaper article, write the name of the newspaper in italics then include the city of publication and the date of publishing. If you are sure of the number of age of the newspaper include it after the brackets. If there is no page number state the web address and the date of access. If the reference is editorial include the editor’s name where the author’s name should be and the author as “Editorial”

When writing your law essay for academic purposes, cite your sources using footnotes and bibliographies. Footnotes appear at the end of the sentence for clarity purposes whereas bibliographies are written on an entirely different page at the end of the essay. Referencing your work will maintain your credibility and prevent you from landing plagiarism penalties.