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Law AGLC4 Referencing Guide

Footnotes (AGLC4 rule 1.1)

The purpose of footnotes is to acknowledge the authority for a statement and provide enough information to enable a reader to find the original source. All sources of information, whether quoted directly or paraphrased, are cited in footnotes. Footnotes are provided in text with corresponding references at the bottom of each page of your assignment.

Footnotes should be placed at the end of the cited material after punctuation, except em dashes (AGLC4 rule 1.1.2)
  • After the full stop.1

  • After other punctuation such as a comma,1 if applicable.

Use a semicolon to separate multiple sources cited in a single footnote (AGLC4 rule 1.1.3)
  • Personal Injuries Proceeding Act 2002 (Qld); Civil Liability Act 2003 (Qld).

Finish every footnote with a full stop (AGLC4 rule 1.1.4)

To add footnotes to your Word document:

  1. Position your cursor at the appropriate place in your Word document
  2. Click on the References tab
  3. Click on Insert Footnote
  4. Type in the reference for the source following the appropriate guidelines

Pinpoint references (AGLC4 rule 1.1.6)

A pinpoint is a reference to a specific page, paragraph or other section of a resource. Pinpoints are placed at the end of the reference.

A pinpoint to a page appears as a number

HLA Hart, The Concept of Law (Clarendon Press, 1970) 15.

A pinpoint to a paragraph appears in square brackets

Lancaster v Foxtel Management Pty Ltd [2022] NSWSC 929, [6].

If you want to refer to a page and paragraph number include both without any punctuation in between

Davis v Gertig [No 2] (2002) 83 SASR 521, 528 [57].

For resources such as journal articles and cases where the citation includes a starting page number place a comma before the pinpoint

Gordon Goldberg, 'Certain Contemporary Confusions Concerning Consideration, a Common Court and Conversion' (2000) 8(2) Restitution Law Review 189, 191.

If your pinpoint refers to a span of sections separate these with a non-spaced en dash ()

Wurridjal v Commonwealth (2009) 237 CLR 390, 38990.

NOTE: When there is a span of page numbers refer to the minimum number of digits ie: 38890. Except, paragraphs numbers should appear in full enclosed in square brackets eg: [56][59] (AGLC4 rule 1.10.1).

Authors (AGLC4 rule 4.1)


The name of the author should appear exactly as it does on the title page of the source (AGLC4 rule 4.1.1).

Sources with one author (AGLC4 rule 4.1.1)
  • list the author's first name followed by their family name

eg John Smith

  • if the first name is not given on the publication​, then provide the author's initial(s) with no spaces or full stops in between

eg JA Smith

  • do not include post nominals (eg 'AM' or 'LLB') or honourific titles (eg 'the Hon', 'Dr')
  • include peerage titles (eg 'Sir', 'Dame') if these appear on the source
Sources with 23 authors (AGLC4 rule 4.1.2)
  • separate the names of the last 2 authors with ‘and’

eg JA Smith and BE Jones

Sources with 4 or more authors (AGLC4 rule 4.1.2)
  • list only the first author’s name followed by et al (meaning 'and others')

eg JA Smith et al

Several sources with the same author(s) (AGLC4 rule 1.4.1)
  • include the short title (AGLC4 rule 1.4.4) in subsequent references to avoid ambiguity

            Paterson, Robertson and Duke, Principles (n18) 2 [1.50].
            Paterson, Robertson and Duke, Cases (n14) 41 [3.50]. 

Sources with an editor rather than an author (AGLC4 rule 4.1.3)
  • include the name of the editor as you would an author an include '(ed)' or '(eds)' after the surname

eg BE Jones (ed)

Sources authored by a body (i.e. government department) (AGLC4 rule 4.4.1)
  • the name of the body should appear as the author 
  • for subsequent references it may be more helpful to use a short title instead of the name of the author
  • if the government department has multiple subdivisions, use the most specific subdivision, unless doing so will create ambiguity
  • if the jurisdiction is not apparent, the abbreviated jurisdiction can be included in brackets after the department's name
  • omit terms such as 'Pty', 'Ltd', 'Co', 'Inc' 
  • omit 'The' if it appears at the beginning of the company name

For bibliography entries invert the first and last name of the first author of the source

e.g. Smith, JA and BE Jones. 


All case names, statute titles, treaty titles, journal titles and other titles as specified should be be italicised in the text, quotations, footnotes and bibliography unless otherwise stated (AGLC4 rule 1.8.2).

Titles of book chapters and journal articles appear unitalicised and in single quotation marks (AGLC4 rule 5.2; rule 6.6.1). 

Titles of secondary sources should appear as they do in the original source except:

  • punctuation should adhere to rule 1.6 (AGLC4 Rule 4.2)
  • capitalisation should adhere to rule 1.7 (AGLC4 Rule 4.2)
  • a colon should separate the title from any subtitle, regardless of the punctuation on the title page of the source (AGLC4 Rule 4.2)
  • if the source has multiple subtitles only include the first unless the second subtitle is a span of dates (AGLC4 Rule 4.2)
  • for older sources where an initial short title is separated from a longer complete title, only include the initial short title (AGLC4 Rule 4.2).
Examples of titles

FA Trindade and HP Lee (eds), The Constitution of Malaysia: Further Perspectives and Developments (Oxford University Press, 1986).
Adam Webster, 'Sharing Water from Transboundary Rivers in Australia: An Interstate Common Law?' (2015) 39(1) Melbourne University Law Review 263. 
R v Tang (2008) 237 CLR 1, 7. 
Civil Liability Act 2003 (Qld) s 15. 

Subsequent references and ibid (AGLC4 rule 1.4)

Ibid (AGLC4 rule 1.4.3)

If a source immediately following a footnote is the same then you can use 'Ibid'. Where the pinpoint differs, provide the new pinpoint:

eg Ibid 65-67.

Note: use Rule 1.4.1 rather than Ibid if:

  • there are multiple references in the preceding footnote
  • there is a pinpoint in the preceding footnote, but no pinpoint is required in the subsequent reference.
(n) Subsequent References (AGLC4 rule 1.4.1)

If a source has been referred to in an earlier footnote you can use a shortened form of the reference with a cross reference to the footnote where it can be found: 

Author Surname (n Footnote Number) Pinpoint.

Jones (n 3) 14.

For cases and legislation a short title or popular name can be used following AGLC4 Rule 1.4.4 (AGLC4 rule 1.4.1):
Short Title (n Footnote Number) Pinpoint.

Tasmanian Dam Case (n 12).

Examples of using ibid and (n)

1 Eric Berendt, Freedom of Speech (Oxford University Press, 2nd ed, 2005) 163.
2 Ibid.
3 Ibid 174-5.
4 Catherine Macmillan, Mistakes in Contract Law (Hart Publishing, 2010) 9.
5 Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1977 (Cth) s 37 ('ADJR Act').
6 MacMillan (n 48) 41.
7 ADJR Act (n 63) s 5 (2).

Short titles (AGLC4 rule 1.4.4)

Use a short title in subsequent references to a source in text or footnotes, unless the footnote is the same as that immediately preceding it (use Ibid instead). Introduce the short title in inverted commas and parentheses (AGLC4 rule 1.4.4).

In text provide the short title after the full title of the source (AGLC4 rule 1.4.4)

This was cited in the decisione Pape v Federal Commissioner of Taxation ('Pape').1

In footnotes provide the short title after pinpoints or parenthetical clauses (AGLC4 rule 1.5.7)

Pape v Federal Commissioner of Taxation (2009) 238 CLR 1 ('Pape')
Kim Rubenstein, 'Meanings of Membership: Mary Gaudron's Contributions to Australian Citizenship' (2004) 15(4) Public Law Review 305, 310 ('Meanings of Membership').

Other instances where you would include a short title:
  • secondary sources with the same author(s) (see Authors)
  • secondary sources authored by a body (see Authors)
  • secondary sources or where there is no author or editor

NOTE: Only italicise titles if they should be italicised according to Rule 1.8.2.

Sources referring to other sources (AGLC4 rule 1.3)

Cite the original text where possible. Otherwise provide as full a reference to the original text as you can and use the words 'quoted in', 'cited in' or 'discussed in' before referring to the secondary text.


Mason v Freedman [1958] SCR 483, quoted in Shelanu Inc v Print Three Franchising Corporation (2003) 64 OR (3d) 533, 556.
Sandy Steel, 'On When Fairchild Applies' (2015) 131(3) Law Quarterly Review 363, 364, cited in Caason Investments Pty Ltd v Cao (2015) 236 FCR 322, 357 [184] (Edelman J).

Punctuation (AGLC4 rule 1.6)

Full stops (AGLC4 rule 1.6.1)

Only use full stops to mark the end of a sentence or footnote. Do not use full stops in:

  • abbreviations
  • after initials, heading numbers or letters.

Omit full stops that do not follow these rules in a quotation or elements of a citation.

Em-Dashes, En-Dashes, Hyphens and Slashes (AGLC4 rule 1.6.3)

An em-dash (—) can be used to indicate an interruption within a sentence, in place of a colon, or on both sides of a parenthetical remark or apposition.

An en-dash (–) may be used to indicate a span between numbers or indicate a tension or disjunction between two concepts.

Use a forward slash (/) to separate alternatives.

Use a hyphen (-) to connect parts of a compound word. Only hyphenate a word if it appears as such in the Macquarie Dictionary (AGLC4, rule 1.9.1).  

Square brackets (AGLC4 rule 1.6.5)

Use square brackets to indicate an adjustment to a quotation or enclose comments that did not appear in the original text, but aid comprehension

eg As Kirby J notes, '[t]he Minister did not appoint [Justice Mathews] as a reporter until her consent was first signified'.

Quotations (AGLC4 rule 1.5)

Quotations may be used in the body of the text and in footnotes. If a sentence runs seamlessly into the quotation do not use punctuation. Use a colon if the quotation does not fit seamlessly into the sentence (AGLC4 rule 1.5.2).

Short quotations (AGLC4 rule 1.5.1) of three lines or less may be incorporated into the text in inverted commas:

It was held that in respect of vending machines, 'the offer is made when the proprietor of the machine holds it out as being ready to receive money'.1

Long quotations (AGLC4 rule 1.5.1) of four lines or more should be:
  • indented from the left margin

  • in a smaller font

  • without quotation marks.

The Judge stated that

While malicious conduct may entitle the successful party to an award of exemplary damages, the absence of malice does not necessarily disentitle an award of that nature. Depending on the circumstances, the type of conduct necessary to justify an award of exemplary damages may be founded on contumelious behaviour which falls short of being malicious or which is not aptly described in those terms. The plaintiff submits that exemplary damages may also be awarded 'as a means of ensuring that those responsible for overseeing the Police force ensure that officers are trained so that abuses do not happen again', relying on Cunningham v Traynor.13

Omissions, alterations and significant errors in quotes:
  • use ellipsis (...) to indicate omissions from a quote (AGLC4 rule 1.5.3)
  • include any alterations to a quote in square brackets (AGLC4 rule 1.5.4)
  • use [sic] to indicate a significant error in the quote (AGLC4 rule 1.5.5)

Capitalisation (AGLC4 rule 1.7)

Words should be capitalised where:

  • they appear at the beginning of a sentence, title or heading
  • are proper nouns
  • it is important for expression or to convey meaning

In titles and headings capitalise the:

  • first letter of all words (including in subheadings and subtitles) except articles (a, the, an), conjunctions (and, but) and prepositions (on, with, before, within, in)
  • word following a hyphen

Other notes on capitalisation:

  • legal classifications should not be capitalised, eg administrative law
  • court should be capitalised only when it refers to a specific court, eg the High Court
  • state and territory should be capitalised when referring to a specific state or territory, eg the State of Queensland

See rule 1.7 for a full list of all words that should be capitalised. 

Bibliographies (AGLC4 rule 1.13)

You will need to include a bibliography in your assignment, unless instructed otherwise. Your bibliography includes all sources you read, not just those referred to in your assignment and footnotes.

Divide your bibliography by source type using the following sections (AGLC4 Rule 1.13):

A Articles/Books/Reports

B Cases


D Treaties

E Other

Only use headings that are relevant to the sources you have used. If you do not include a source type, change the lettering to be in correct ascending order eg:

A Articles/Books/Reports

B Cases


D Other

In your bibliography:

  1. list the sources under each heading in alphabetical order according to the surname of the first-listed author, or title where there is no author

  2. the first-listed author's name and surname should be inverted and separated with a comma

  3. do not include pinpoint references

  4. do not include full stops at the end of the citation.

TIP: 'Other' can include:

  • Working papers
  • Legal encyclopedias
  • Looseleaf services
  • Newspaper articles
  • Conference papers and
  • Internet materials


A Articles/Books/Reports

Davies, Martin and Ian Malkin, Torts (LexisNexis Butterworths, 6th ed, 2012)

Feinberg, Joel, The Moral Limits of the Criminal Law (Oxford University Press, 1984-88) vol 4

Galloway, Kate and Jemima McGrath, 'Reproductive justice: A framework for abortion law reform' (2018) 43(4) Alternative Law Journal, 295

Gough, William, 'Securities over Debts' in Gregory Burton (ed), Directions in Finance Law (Butterworths, 1990) 220

Hedges, Jasper et al, 'The potential economic gains from increasing public law enforcement against illegal phoenix activity' (2018) 44(1) Monash University Law Review 267

Krebs, Shiri, Ingrid Nielsen and Russell Smyth, ‘What Determines the Institutional Legitimacy of the High Court of Australia?’ (2019) 43(2) Melbourne University Law Review (advance)


B Cases

Australian Woollen Mills Pty Ltd v The Commonwealth (1953) 92 CLR 424

Donoghue v Stevenson [1932] AC 562

Dunleavy v Peak [2009] NSWCA 72

Kriz v King [2006] 1 Qd R 327

Ross v Chambers (Unreported, Supreme Court of the Northern Territory, Kriewaldt J, 5 April 1956)


C Legislation

Civil Liability Act 2002 (NSW)

Civil Liability Regulation 2003 (Qld)

Constitution of Queensland 2001 (Qld)

Defamation Bill 2005 (Qld)

Wrongs Act 1958 (Vic)


D Treaties

Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women, opened for signature 18 December 1979, [1983] ATS 9 (entered into force 18 September 1981)

Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel, opened for signature 22 December 1994, [2001] ATS 3 (entered into force 15 January 1999)

Treaty Establishing the European Economic Community, opened for signature 25 March 1957, 298 UNTS (entered into force 1 January 1958)


E Other

Australian Law Reform Commission, Elder Abuse (Discussion Paper No 83, December 2016)

@AustLII, (Twitter, 10 December 2018, 8.26pm) <>

Almqvist, Jessica,  'Global Judicial Governance of Cultural Diversity: The Role of the European Judge' (Conference Paper, European Society of International Law Annual Conference, 31 December 2015)

Attorney General's Dept (Cth), 'Copyright Reform and the Digital Agenda' (Discussion Paper, July 1997) <>

Bell, Virginia, 'Section 80: The Great Constitutional Tautology' (Lucinda Lecture, Monash University, 24 October 2013)

Bowcott, Owen, ‘Trolling Legislation Needs to Be Simplified, says Law Commission’, The Guardian (online, 13 July 2016) <>

Butt, P and P Nygh (eds), LexisNexis Concise Australian Legal Dictionary (online at 20 October, 2018)

Carter, JW, LexisNexis, Carter on Contract (online at 20 July 2018)

CCH, Australian Intellectual Property Commentary (online at 12 April 2018)

Community Law Australia, Unaffordable and Out of Reach: The Problem of Access to the Australian Legal System (Report, July 2012)

Dibben, Kay, ‘An Unhealthy Culture Tribunal’s Chief Sacked for Speaking Out’, The Courier Mail (Brisbane, 29 December 2018)

‘Episode Three’, When They See Us (Netflix, 2019)

Explanatory Notes, Personal Injuries Proceedings Bill 2002 (Qld)

‘Family Violence Killing Found to be a Workplace Death’, The Law Report (ABC National Radio, 21 July 2020) <>

Gans, Jeremy, 'News: The Court Reveals a Legal Scandal', Opinions on High (Blog Post, 3 December 2018) <>

Legally Blonde (Metro Goldwyn Mayer, 2001)

LexisNexis, Encyclopaedic Australian Legal Dictionary (online at 20 February 2018)

LexisNexis Butterworths, Civil Procedure Queensland, vol 1 (at Service 82)

Macquarie Library, Macquarie Dictionary (7th ed, 2018)

Mobil Oil Australia, Submission No 25 to Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, Inquiry into the Price of Unleaded Petrol (27 July 2007)

New South Wales, Parliamentary Debates, Legislative Assembly, 15 December 1909

Peatling, Stephanie, 'Female Chief Justice Rewrites the Script', The Age (Melbourne, 31 January 2017) 6

Potter, Michelle, ‘Social Policy during the 1990's’ (PhD Thesis, Southern Cross University, 2015)

Queensland Government, 'Wellness Planning Resources', Healthier Happier Workplaces (Web Page, 18 January 2019) <>

Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption (Final Report, December 2015) vol 2

Thomson Reuters, Laws of Australia (online at 15 February 2018)

What if my source isn't covered by AGLC4?

This guide is not exhaustive. Consult the full AGLC4 manual for full information. 

When a source is not included in this guide or the AGLC4, adapt the reference from a similar source.

When adapting a reference the AGLC4 recommends being:

  • clear (make sure the reference clearly guides the reader to where to find the source)
  • consistent (use the same format when referring to other sources of the same type).