Example of block quote

OSCOLA basics: quotations

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In this blog post I’m going to continue looking at how to use the OSCOLA referencing style in the general text of your law dissertation or thesis, with an overview of quotations. You can check for more information by downloading the fourth edition pdf guide here, free under a creative commons licence.


The rules for quotations are fairly straightforward. In-text quotations should be contained within single quotation marks and the punctuation is placed after the quote mark unless it’s actually part of the quote. Nested quotes, which are quotes within quotes, use the sequence: ‘single quote mark “double quote mark” single quote mark’. Also, note that the footnote marker for the reference’s citation is placed after the quote mark. The final point to remember is that quotations are always in normal or roman text, not italics.

Block quotes

Quotations of more than three lines should be displayed as a block quote. This is an indented paragraph with no quotation marks, unless they are part of the actual text, in which case they should be produced as in the original. Most law proofreaders and editors will format the text of a block quote with a slightly smaller font and line spacing, and indentation on either side. It makes the quotation stand out from the main text and is pleasing on the eye. For example, if you are using 12-pt font for the general text with 1.5 line spacing, use 11-pt for a block quote with 1.15 line spacing, and 10-pt font with single line spacing for the footnotes. In the example, below the main paragraph is 11-pt font with 1.15 line spacing, whereas the block quote below is 10-pt font with single line spacing, indented to the left.

Example of block quote
Quotation in Oscola style

These are just a few hints for formatting quotations in OSCOLA referencing style in your legal writing. I hope that you find them useful, if you have any questions please leave a comment below. I specialise in editing and proofreading law essays, dissertations and theses, including formatting to OSCOLA requirements, so contact me for a free quotation for editing your next assignment.