OSCOLA Basics: Scotland Wales and NI

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The past couple of blog posts have examined the citation of legislation that applies to England and Wales or to the UK as a whole. If you’d like to read more about the political and geographical nomenclature of the United Kingdom versus Great Britain, have a look at this blog post.

Devolved authority

It’s important to keep in mind that whilst most legislation will apply to the United Kingdom in its entirety, there may be occasions when you will need to cite legislation from one of the devolved governments. Devolution refers to the delegation of central government powers to regional or local level. Devolved administrations have the power to create and enforce legislation that is specific to their area or region. In the UK, there are in fact four devolved governments: the Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales, the Northern Ireland Assembly, and the Greater London Authority, created following referenda in 1997.


In Wales, devolved primary legislation were known as ‘measures’ up until 2011, and from 2012 onwards as Acts of the Welsh Assembly. OSCOLA citation follows the familiar format of UK legislation, with short title and date, followed by the National Assembly of Wales Measure Number (nawm) in round brackets, or latterly the Act of National Assembly of Wales number (anaw). You may also wish to cite the source in the Welsh language, too.


In Scotland, legislation retains the name ‘act of parliament’, Act of Scottish Parliament, in fact. It is cited in exactly the same format as a UK statute with the addition of an asp (Act of Scottish Parliament) number at the end, in round brackets.

Northern Ireland

Legislation which is specific to Northern Ireland is denoted with the addition of the abbreviation NI or the words Northern Ireland in round brackets before the year, with the citation in the same format as UK legislation.



Public Health (Wales) Act 2017 (anaw 2) Deddf lechyd y Cyhoedd (Cymru) 2017 (anaw 2)
Education (Wales) Measure 2011 (nawm 7) Mesur Addysg (Cymru) 2011 (nawm 7)


Contract (Third Party Rights) (Scotland) Act 2017 (asp 5)

Northern Ireland:

Fisheries Act (Northern Ireland) 2016

Hopefully, following these recent blog posts you’re confident citing any UK current or proposed legislation using the OSCOLA referencing style. Next, we’ll have a look at secondary legislation.

Flags of Scotland Wales