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Understanding citations

Most of the material that you will need to refer to during your studies will be in one of the following categories:

  • Books
  • Chapters in books
  • Journal articles
  • Caselaw
  • Conference papers

References to these information sources are called citations. The citation for each format looks slightly different.  Recognising the different citation formats is important because this will affect how you search for the item.

Types of Citations

Example of a book citation

Carolyn Sappideen, Prue Vines, Penelope Watson, Torts:  Commentary and Materials (Lawbook, 11th ed, 2012).

This citation consists of the authors names, the title of the book, and the publication details.

Example of a book chapter citation

Andrew Shacknove, 'Who is a Refugee?' in Helene Lambert (ed), International Refugee Law (Ashgate, 2010) 163.

This citation consists of the author of the chapter, the title of the chapter, the editor(s) of the book, the title of the book, the publication details of the book and the starting page of the chapter.

Example of a case citation

Badenach v Calvert (2016) 257 CLR 440.

This citation consists of the party names (separated by a v), the year the decision was made, the volume of the law report, the law report series (in this case it's the Commonwealth Law Reports) and the starting page of the case in the CLRs.


Example of a journal article citation

Ainsley Newson, 'Synthetic Biology: Ethics, Exceptionalism and Expectations' (2015) 15 Macquarie Law Journal 45

This citation consists of the author of the articlethe title of the articlethe year of publication, the title of the journal that the article is published in, and the starting page of the article.

Example of an act of Parliament (NSW)

Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (NSW)

This citation consists of the name of the act, the year the act was assented, and the jurisdiction of the legislation.  You don't need to worry about the act number.

Help with Referencing

When preparing your assignment you need to acknowledge all the materials you draw upon, quote, paraphrase or mention.  Macquarie Law School expects all students to use the Australian Guide to Legal Citations format (AGLC4) for citing material in assessments. 

Referencing is a standardised way to acknowledge all the ideas and concepts you have used and allow readers to trace and verify your sources.

You should check your unit outline or consult with academic convenors for the style required for your assessment. You may be penalised for not conforming to your course's requirements.

Click on the link below to learn more.