Dalhousie Law Journal


OSCOLA, legal citation, hegemony of uniformity, hypertrophy, manuals, footnoting


With the publication of the fourth edition of OSCOLA (the first being in 2000), the Oscolites, if I may adopt such a term, have issued an implicit challenge to other contenders in the world of legal citation. I suggest that the challenge has four prongs. The first aims at what may be called the "hegemony of uniformity."' The second, at a tendency to what Judge Posner has declaimed as "hypertrophy" in the size of legal citation manuals. The third, at barriers to accessing such manuals. And the fourth prong, gentler and more tentative than the other three, at the notion that footnoting and referencing legal materials is purely a question offunction, with little role for beauty, elegance, or style-such considerations being reserved, if at all, for the main body of legal texts in which the citations appear. These prongs are intertwined, but I will outline and address them separately below.