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Law Library Guide: References

This subject guide provides access to the Library's key resources relevant to the field of Law

Acts of Parliament

  • The title and number of the Act are not to be italicised.
  • The first time an Act is referred to, the title should be given in full in the text, and a reference to the number and year should appear in the footnote.
  • Subsequently, the title or abbreviated title of the Act may be used, but there is no need to refer to the number and year again. References can be confined to the relevant section (s) or sub-section (subsec) under discussion.


  • The first time a case is referred to, its full title and citation should be given.
  • Case titles should be italicised: James v John
  • The words “and another” or “and others” are to be omitted.
  • Case citations should follow the ordinary format followed in the THRHR: 1967 2 SA 456 (N) or 1996 3 All SA 345 (T) or 1999 11 BCLR 777 (D). There should be NO brackets around the volume number, where such exists.
  • Specific page references should not be preceded by an “at”. So: 1978 3 SA 234 (A) 237D-G.
  • If paragraphs are referred to, simply say “para 34”: 1999 2 SA 199 (CC) para 34.
  • After the first mention of a case, an abbreviated title may be used: Soobramoney’s case or Soobramoney.
  • Where a case is referred to for a second or subsequent time, the style adopted in the THRHR is occasionally inconsistent. Two options can be followed. Either give the full case citation each time you refer to the case, or simply give the title or abbreviated title, then the page reference: James v John 56G. The second option will most likely be preferable for authors, and you would be encouraged to adopt this.


  • Please give the author’s surname, the title of the thesis, and then in brackets, the type of thesis, the institution, and the date. Thereafter give the page from whence the information came. So Jansen The Undisclosed Principal (LLD-thesis, RAU, 1997) 34.

Internet References

  • We will follow the THTHR style as follows: Garrett “Consumer Protection” (accessed 24-02-2004).


  • The first time a textbook is referred to, a full reference should be given. A full reference will look as follows: Brownsword Contract: Themes for the Twenty-First Century (2000) 34.
  • It is unnecessary to supply the first name or initials of the author, unless it is necessary to prevent confusion.
  • Book Titles should be italicised.
  • An edition can be referred to, where necessary. Kerr The Principles of the Law of Contract 6 ed (2002) 123.
  • The date of publication should appear in round brackets.
  • When the book is referred to for a subsequent time, you can either use the author’s surname name and the page where you found your authority(Kerr 646) or use the author’s surname, an abbreviated title, and the page where you found your authority (Kerr Contract 646).


Please note that as far as possible we will be avoiding the use of crossreferences back to the first reference of the book/journal/case, and referencing techniques like op cit, loc cit and supra to streamline the referencing system and to try to prevent cross-referencing errors.

Journal Articles

  • The first time a journal article is referred to, a full reference should be given: Neethling “Defamation in South Africa” 1995 THRHR 378. Please note that the year is NOT placed in brackets, and the volume number is OMITTED. No first names or initials should be given, as is the case with textbook authors, unless it is necessary to prevent confusion.
  • Titles of journals should be italicised, and standard abbreviations for journal titles should be used.
  • If you wish to refer to a specific page, do so immediately after the commencement page, without using “at”: 1978 CILSA 347 350.
  • When the article is referred to for a second or subsequent time, use an abbreviated reference: Neethling 1995 THRHR 390. Only the page from whence the information was acquired should be reflected.
  • Ibid may be used if the reference is exactly the same as the preceding one.

Old Authorities

Please consult 1985 THRHR 125, if you need to use old authorities. The referencing style is pretty standard for these in any event.