Citing and referencing: Legal sources

A guide to the styles recommended by Monash schools and departments for students and researchers

Legal sources


  • For detailed guidelines, the APA style guide refers readers to The Bluebook: A uniform system of citation (19th ed, 2010); however, this does not cover Australian law and cases.  Check with your faculty for any specific requirements. In Australia, a common resource to use is the following book: Melbourne University Law Review Association, & Melbourne Journal of International Law. (2018). Australian guide to legal citation (4th ed.). Melbourne, Australia: Melbourne University Law Review Association. (AGLC)
  • The AGLC should also be consulted when referencing international legal documents.
  • Round brackets are used when the report series is organised by volume numbers, square brackets are used when the reports are organised by year rather than volume. Ensure that the brackets used in your citation match the type of brackets used in your source.
  • In references to legislation, the year is in italics as it is considered to be part of the title of the Act.
  • Secondary sources : if you do not read the actual case or Act, but only read about them in another source, only include the source in your reference list.
  • Cases and legislation retrieved electronically require the electronic source to be added to the reference.  If the content of the document is likely to be updated, include the retrieved date.  If the URL address of the case or Act is too long or cumbersome it is sufficient to give the URL of the database from where they can be retrieved. Use the words 'available from' to clarify that you won't go directly to the documentment but it can be downloaded from there.
  • Jurisdictions are abbreviated and in brackets e.g (Cth ) for Commonwealth, (Vic) for Victoria, (UK) for United Kingdom etc.



In-text citation format

Reference format

The title of the leglslation and the year (jurisdiction). Note: include the jurisdiction the first time the act is cited. The jurisdiction can be dropped with subsequent citations

Short Title of the Act (in italics) Year (in italics) (Jurisdiction abbreviation) subdivision, if relevant. 


In-text citation format

The Medical Treatment Act 1988 (Vic) states......

by virtue of s. 25.1 of the Aged Care Act 1997 (Cth).....

..."A restrictive intervention may only be used on a person....." (Mental Health Act 2014 (Vic), s. 105)


Reference format

Crimes Act 1958 (Vic)

Pharmacy and Poisons Act 1953 (UK)

Aged Care Act 1997 (Cth). Available from



Bills should appear in the same format as legislation but titles and year should not be italicised.

Format Short Title of the Bill Year (Jurisdiction abbreviation) subdivision, if relevant

Transport Accident Further Amendment Bill 2013 (Vic)

Environment Legislation Amendment Bill 2013 (Cth). Available from


Legal cases

In-text citation format

Reference format

The title of the case (year). Note: Include the year with the first citation. The year can be dropped in subsequent citations.

Case Name (in italics) year (in brackets) volume number reporter abbreviation starting page


In-text citation example

According to the case of Rogers v Whitaker (1992).....

Reference example

Rogers v Whitaker (1992) 175 CLR 479

Chappel v Hart [1998] HCA 55. Available from


Multilateral treaty documents, e.g. United Nations

Format Treaty title (in italics) opened for signature date of conlusion, treaty series (dated entered into force).

Convention on the Rights of the Child, opened for signature 20 November 1989, 1577 UNTS 3 (entered into force 2 September 1990).

Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, opened for signature 28 July 1951, 189 UNTS 137 (entered into force 22 April 1954)