Guide to International Legal Citation

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Cambridge Journal of International and Comparative Law

Guide to International Legal Citation

[Version 1.4]

Current at October 2014

EDITOR, n. A person who combines the judicial functions of Minos, Rhadamanthus and Aeacus, but is placable with an obolus; a severely virtuous censor, but so charitable withal that he tolerates the virtues of others and the vices of himself; who flings about him the splintering lightning and sturdy thunders of admonition till he resembles a bunch of firecrackers petulantly uttering his mind at the tail of a dog; then straightway murmurs a mild, melodious lay, soft as the cooing of a donkey intoning its prayer to the evening star. Master of mysteries and lord of law, high-pinnacled upon the throne of thought, his face suffused with the dim splendors of the Transfiguration, his legs intertwisted and his tongue a-cheek, the editor spills his will along the paper and cuts it off in lengths to suit. And at intervals from behind the veil of the temple is heard the voice of the foreman demanding three inches of wit and six lines of religious meditation, or bidding him turn off the wisdom and whack up some pathos.

Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary (1906)


The purpose of this Guide to International Legal Citation (GILC) is to provide a grounding in basic copyediting for the editorial staff of the Cambridge Journal of International and Comparative Law (CJICL).

Slightly more ambitiously (and perhaps naively), it also attempts to provide a comprehensive and consistent style guide for international law sources in common circulation. As such, it is intended to be a perpetually unfinished and evolving work – it may not possess all of the answers to copyediting questions all of the time, but it is intended to provide most of the answers most of the time. And so it goes.

The GILC has been prepared according to three key principles which run throughout:

  1. brevity and a lack of unnecessary material in each citation;

  2. lack of clutter and extraneous punctuation in each citation;

  3. comprehensiveness.

In the event that you as a copyeditor do not find the answers that you seek within its pages, please do not hesitate to get in touch with the current ‘style tsar’ of the CJICL for further instruction.

The GILC is based in large part on the Australian Guide to Legal Citation (3rd edn) (AGLC 3),1 as published by the Melbourne University Law Review in conjunction with the Melbourne International Law Journal, for which due acknowledgement is given. If the GILC does not cover a particular issue, then the answer may be found in the AGLC 3, though the general operating principles of the GILC are considered paramount.

In this version 1.4 of the GILC, a new section on EU supranational materials has been added. Many thanks to Ana Julia Mauricio (Managing Editor, CJILC) for her assistance in this respect.

Cameron A. Miles

Editor-in-Chief, CJICL

11 October 2013


Cambridge Journal of International and Comparative Law 1

Guide to International Legal Citation 1




A. General Principles of Editing 5

1. The applicability of the GILC and its evolution 5

2. General principles of the GILC 5

B. Footnotes 5

1. When to footnote 5

2. The position of footnote numbers 6

3. Multiple sources in footnotes 7

4. Full stops at the end of footnotes 7

5. Pinpoint citation 7

6. Introductory signals for citations 8

C. Sources Referring to Other Sources and Subsequent References 9

1. Sources referring to other sources 9

2. Immediately subsequent references 9

3. Cross-references 10

D. Quotations 10

1. Short quotations 10

2. Long quotations 11

3. Editing quotes 11

4. Quotes within quotes 12

5. Punctuation within quotations 13

6. [sic] 14

F. Punctuation 14

1. Full stops 14

2. Em-Dashes, En-Dashes and Hyphens 14

3. Quotation marks 15

4. Numbering 15

G. Capitalisation 16

H. Italicisation 17

1. Italicisation for emphasis 17

2. Italicisation of foreign words 17

I. Headings and Formatting 18

1. Article heading and author 18

2. Heading levels 18

3. Formatting and paragraphs 19


A. Treaties 20

1. Basic multilateral conventions 20

2. Subsequent references to treaties 21

B. UN Materials 22

1. Constitutive documents 22

2. General Assembly resolutions 22

3. Security Council resolutions 23

4. Other UN documents 23

C. ILC Materials 25

1. The ILC Yearbook in general 25

2. Reports of the Special Rapporteurs 26

3. ILC articles and draft articles 27

4. Unpublished ILC documents 27

D. PCIJ and ICJ 28

1. The PCIJ: the basic rule 28

2. The ICJ: the basic rule 28

3. Declarations, dissents and separate opinions 30

4. Subsequent references to judgments 30

E. International Criminal Law 31

F. International Economic Law 31

1. WTO covered agreements 31

2. Official WTO documents 32

3. Panel, Appellate Body and arbitration decisions 33

G. Other International Decisions 34

1. International investment tribunals 34

2. Decisions of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea 35

H. European Union Materials 36

1. Official Journal of the European Union 36

2. Constitutive Documents 37

3. Judicial Decisions 37

I. Supreme Court Edition 38

1. Municipal law sources 38

2. UK unreported decisions 39

3. UK reported decisions 40

4. Municipal statutes 41


A. Books 42

1. The basic rule 42

2. Book chapters 42

3. Translated and ‘classic’ texts 43

4. Multi-volume works 44

B. Journals 44

1. The basic rule 44

2. A word on journal title abbreviations 45

C. Other Materials 46

1. Internet sources 46

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