Guide to International Legal Citation

I. GENERAL RULES A. General Principles of Editing

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A. General Principles of Editing

The purpose of this section is not so much to describe any firm ‘rules’ of editing so much as to set out the ‘general principles’ of editing under the GILC model.2

These are as follows:

1. The applicability of the GILC and its evolution

  • RULE 1: Always follow the GILC.

  • RULE 2: Always follow Rule 1.

  • RULE 3: If in doubt as to the correctness of Rule 1, consider Rule 2, and then apply Rule 1.

  • RULE 4: Remember that the GILC is not perfect.3 If the application of the GILC seems absurd or contradictory, contact the CJICL Editor-in-Chief in charge of stylistic matters (currently Cameron Miles: In the alternative, resolve the difficulty yourself in whichever way seems most consistent with the principles of the GILC.

  • RULE 5: Never be afraid to suggest additions or improvements to the GILC.

2. General principles of the GILC

  • RULE 6: Follow these rules in order to resolve a quandary within the GILC.

  • RULE 7: Always strive to maintain the internal consistency of the article.

  • RULE 8: Attempt to make the citation as clean as possible, within reason. This means the removal of extraneous commas, full stops and double inverted quotation marks (single inverted quotes being the norm).

  • RULE 9: When considering a completed reference, the question to be asked is whether the reader is provided with all the information they require to easily find the reference in question.

  • RULE 10: In the application of Rule 9, there is no need to go overboard. It is not necessary to provide every piece of information about the source in question.

B. Footnotes

1. When to footnote


Footnotes exist to provide the reader with a concise and direct authority for the proposition cited. Thus, they should be used to:

  1. provide an authority for the proposition cited;

  2. acknowledge a source that is relevant to an argument and indicate how it is relevant;

  3. provide information that enables the retrieval of relevant sources and quotations that appear in the text; and

  4. provide other – possibly tangential and extraneous – information that would detract from the argument were it to appear in the text.

Direct quotations must always be followed by a footnote unless the source is provided in full in the text.

The first citation of a source should always appear in full.


The Bayindir case1 indeed confirms the approach which determines that an ‘in accordance with the state laws and regulations’ clause refers to the legality (validity) and not to the definition of an investment.

With regard to the criteria to determine if an investment was made in accordance with the host state law, the tribunal decided that:

[…] since Pakistan does not contend that Bayindir’s purported investment actually violates Pakistani laws and regulations, the Tribunal considers that the reference to the ‘hosting Party’s law and regulations’ in Article I(2) of the Treaty could not in any case oust the Tribunal’s jurisdiction in the present case.2


1  Bayindir Insaat Turizm Ve Sanayi AS v Islamic Republic of Pakistan, ICSID Case No ARB/03/29 (Decision on Jurisdiction, 14 November 2005).

2  Ibid, para 110.

2. The position of footnote numbers


A footnote number should immediately follow the portion of text to which it is relevant. It should appear directly after any relevant punctuation (e.g. full stop, comma, semi-colon) other than an em-dash (—).


The ICSID tribunal accepted jurisdiction with regard to this request as other BITs concluded by Pakistan contained ‘[…] an explicit fair and equitable treatment clause’.1

A further relevant factor is the one which is—pursuant to the ruling of the tribunal in Metalclad1—frequently termed as the ‘investment backed expectations of the investor’.2

3. Multiple sources in footnotes


A semi-colon should be used to separate sources within a footnote. Under no circumstances is ‘and’ to be used to distinguish the final reference in the series.


R Dolzer & C Schreuer, Principles of International Investment Law (OUP, 2008) 84–8; A Joubin-Bret, ‘Admission and Establishment in the Context of Investment Protection’ in A Reinisch (ed), Standards of Investment Protection (2008) 9, 16–26; Z Douglas, The International Law of Investment Claims (2009) 52–69;

4. Full stops at the end of footnotes


Every footnote must end with a full stop or other context-appropriate form of punctuation.


See e.g. C H Schreuer, L. Malintoppi, A Reinisch & A Sinclair, The ICSID Convention: A Commentary (2nd edn, 2009) 194–6.

5. Pinpoint citation


Unless citing a source in general, a reference should be accompanied by some form of pinpoint reference. Various types of pinpoint are acceptable, but where possible, a page or paragraph range is to be preferred.

When expressing a page range, the range is to be indicated by use of an en dash (–) between the first and last page of the range.

When expressing a page range, the range should give the starting page number in full, and then give only the last number of the end page unless it crosses into another range of ten, e.g. 22–5 is 22–25, 123–44 is 123–144 and so forth. The exception is any page rage in the ‘teens’ in which case the full expression of the ‘teen’ must be given, e.g. 211–13 is 211–213.

Other acceptable pinpoints include:

  • chapter number, expressed as ‘ch’ followed by the chapter number; or

  • a folio reference, expressed as the starting page of the range followed by ‘ff’;

  • a reference to a footnote in the original text, expressed as the page on which the footnote is located, followed by ‘(n x)’, where x is the number of the footnote.


1 D Guilfoyle, Shipping Interdiction and the Law of the Sea (2009) ch 4.

2 On the former British mandate for Palestine: J Crawford, The Creation of States in International Law (2nd edn, 2006) 421ff.

3 C Harris & C A Miles, ‘Foreign States before the Supreme Court’ (2012) 1 CJICL 86, 87–9.

4 Stürchler, above n 4, 120 (n 113).

6. Introductory signals for citations


Note: this rule is relatively flexible, and need not be adhered to religiously, so long as an article is internally consistent within itself!

An introductory signal may be used before the citation to indicate the relationship between the source and a proposition in the text. No such signal should be used where the source is quoted or directly supports the statement in the text, e.g. in the case of paraphrasing.

The following introductory signals may be used:

  • ‘See’, to be used where the citation given provides qualified support for the statement given in the text;

  • ‘See e.g.’, where the source or sources given are one of several possible authorities supporting the proposition;

  • ‘See also’, where the source provides additional or general support for the proposition in the text;

  • ‘See generally’, where the entirety of the source cited supports in a general away the proposition in question (generally not accompanied by a page range).

  • ‘See especially’, where the source is the strongest of several authorities supporting the proposition in the text;

  • ‘But cf’ or ‘Cf’, where the source cited provides a useful contrast to the point given in the text, or represents a qualified departure from it;

  • Contra’, where the source cited outright contradicts the point given in the text, or earlier citations within the footnote.

In all of the above cases, the ‘see’ when accompanied by another signal may be dispensed with depending on the preference of the author. Where this occurs, the rest of the citations in the article must be made internally consistent within the article.

Depending on context, it may be appropriate to separate the introductory signal from the citation with a colon, particularly where more than one citation is provided.

The introductory signal may also be accompanied by a brief sentence giving context to the citation if required.


Note: the examples given are not intended to come from the same article, as they are not internally consistent.

1 On shipping interdiction and piracy, see: D Guilfoyle, Shipping Interdiction and the Law of the Sea (2009) ch 4.

2 Cf A Cullen, The Concept of Non-International Armed Conflict in International Humanitarian Law (2010) 8–10.

3 Generally: N Stürchler, The Threat of Force in International Law (2007).

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