Set up your document for success: adding a table of cases

posted in: Word | 0

If you’ve followed the previous blog posts and discovered how easy it is to insert a table of contents you’re probably wondering whether Word has got any other tricks up its sleeve to help with the other reference lists you need to include at the beginning of a law thesis. The three other lists that you’re likely to need to include are a table of cases, a table of statutes and a list of abbreviations used in the text.

Word does have lots of useful little functions, many of which few ‘ordinary’ users take advantage of, or simply do not know about. Some, however, may seem to be more trouble than they are worth. Although it is possible to create an automatic table of cases, I have never seen one used in a dissertation or thesis. I’m not really sure how helpful the method would be, or whether it is simply easier to keep a record of cases cited on paper, on a separate Word document, or on your phone and just incorporate this at the final stage of assembling your document. However, I will show you how to use the automatic table of cases so you can decide for yourself. (Do let me know if you use it!)

This is the simplest method that I’ve found. There are various search options that can be put into effect and categorisation of the information, but I find this just complicates matters.

Adding citation details

• First, go to the REFERENCES Tab and find the icon Table of Authorities. Highlight the text – the case name, date and law report citation if needed, then click on the first icon Mark Citation.
• In OSCOLA format the date does not usually appear in the text, so if you are taking the citation details from the running text you can add extra information in the short or long citation boxes.

Adding a citation to table of cases
Adding a citation to table of cases

Use short cut keys

• You’ll need to follow this process every time you need to add a case name to the list, so it’s probably easier to use the keyboard shortcut Alt+Shift+I (the letter i) to bring up the box.
• When you are ready to assemble the Table of Cases (or statutes), make any modifications to the format you wish, such as whether you want dots or blank spaces between the case names and the page number, and then click OK. The Table of Cases will appear at the location of the cursor.

Create your table of cases

Creating a table of cases
Creating a table of cases

NOTE: you might have noticed the option ‘passim’. If this box is ticked Word will automatically use the word ‘passim’ if a reference appears more than five times in the entire document. As you only want to cite a case once it’s best to leave this box unchecked, and try not to add cases more than once to the list.

One disadvantage of using the automatic Table of Cases or Statutes is that it will add the page numbers where the citation is located to the list. Generally, all that is needed in a dissertation or thesis is simply a list of cases mentioned in the text. You only need to cite the case name once and page numbers aren’t necessary, so you might feel that this is just one added complication that you can do without. Don’t forget – leave me a comment below if you’ve had success using this automatic function.