OSCOLA style for EU cases
I’ve been checking a few law dissertations recently, my favourite proofreading. OSCOLA style referencing often poses problems and this week I’ve looking at EU law references in particular. There are four elements to the correct citation of an EU case: the case number, the case name, the year and the report abbreviation.
Case number | case name in italics | [year in square brackets] | report abbreviation
Find the case number
First, ascertain the case number. Since 1989, three prefixes have been used, depending on where the case was first registered. C- denotes a case in the European Court of Justice, T- a case in the Court of First Instance, and F- cases in the Civil Service Tribunal, although this was not established until 2005. This element of the citation is styled in roman (normal font) as: capital letter prefix, n dash, case number. The case number usually has two components, separated by an oblique (slash /).
Cite the case name
Second, cite the case name in italics with a plain small case v – no punctuation required either after the case number or around the v or after the case name.
Cite the case date
Third, cite the case date, in normal font between square brackets:  – no punctuation required.
Finally, cite the report abbreviation. There are several sources for the case reference. OSCOLA’s primary preference is to use the official reports which are cited as ECR. They are usually quite easy to find on CURIA, the official website which has a search function.
The ECJ cases are recorded in volume I which is styled: ECR I (use a roman numeral for the volume number, I’ve changed the font here to TNR so it is clear), then an n-dash and finally the number. First instance decisions are reported in the second volume which is styled ECR II.
If you are unable to find the case reference alternative acceptable citation sources are Common Market Law Reports (CMLR), Law Reports, Weekly Law Reports or All England (European).
If the case is unreported in the official European reports then you may be able to find an Official Journal reference, which you can access at Eur-lex This citation is styled: OJ C000/00
If the case is not reported in the Official Journal then conclude the citation after the case name (don’t insert the date here) with the court and date of judgment enclosed within round brackets, like this: (ECJ, 6 January 2017) – the only punctuation is a comma after the date. The European Court of Justice is abbreviated to ECJ and the Court of First Instance to CFI.
If the citation is in footnotes finish it off with a full stop; if the citation is in the bibliography – no full stop.
Here are three examples:
Citation from ECR:
Case C177/04 Commission v French Republic  ECR I–2461.
Citation from Official Journal:
Case C584/14 Commission v Hellenic Republic  OJ C402/4.
Case C279/11 Commission v Ireland (ECJ, 19 December 2012)
I hope this will help you with OSCOLA citations of EU law. For some general OSCOLA tips, check out this previous post. In the future, I’ll tackle some of the more unusual materials that you may need to reference.