Guide to International Legal Citation



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F. Punctuation

1. Full stops


THE RULE

Full stops should only be used to mark the end of a sentence or a footnote. They should not be used to indicate abbreviations, e.g. after initials or heading numbers or letters. The sole exception is with the abbreviation of Latin shorthand such as ‘i.e.’ or ‘e.g.’ (but not ‘et al’ or ‘cf’).

Where a quotation uses full stops as abbreviation, it should be brought into compliance with this rule. This should not be flagged in the quote as an edit by way of ellipses.

EXAMPLES

Dr Mr Mrs Ms A-G LLM UK US UN QC Arden LJ

e.g. i.e. cf et al etc.

Thus, ‘N Phillips, ‘The Birth and First Steps of the Supreme Court’ (2012) 1 CJICL 9’, as opposed to ‘N. Phillips, ‘The Birth and First Steps of the Supreme Court’ (2012) 1 C.J.I.C.L. 9’.

2. Em-Dashes, En-Dashes and Hyphens


THE RULE

An em-dash (—) may be used in place of parentheses to indicate an aside or apposition within a sentence.4

An en-dash (–) is used to indicate a span between two numbers or letters. It may also be used to mark a tension or disjunction between two concepts, though in such an instance, a forward slash (/) may also be used.

A hyphen (-) is used to connect the parts of a compound phrase.



EXAMPLES

In addition, some commentators—and most notably the Restatement Third—had previously taken the position that there was, in cases of ambiguity, a strong presumption in favour of the self-execution of treaties. [em-dash and hyphen]

There was much discussion of this point in paragraphs 44–52 of the judgment. [en-dash]

A tort–contract dichotomy. [en-dash]

A yes/no question. [forward slash]

The Pan-American Union. [hyphen]


3. Quotation marks


THE RULE

As stated previously, single quotation marks are preferred to double quotation marks, save in situations in which a quote is placed inside another quote.

Single quotation marks should also be used to indicate that a word is being used in an unconventional or distinctive sense.

EXAMPLE

In 1951, the ILC rejected the ‘compatibility’ criterion as too subjective, preferring a rule of unanimous consent.


4. Numbering


THE RULE

Numbers under ten should be written in words. Numerals should be used:



  • for numbers over nine;

  • numbers of section, pages, paragraphs, clauses, editions and other elements of citations;

  • ratios, mathematical or statistical equations, decimal numbers, etc.; and

  • series of related quantities, numbers, ages, etc.

That said, a sentence should never begin with a numeral, even a date. In addition, a number may be written out in full if it forms part of a proper noun.

In numbers of four digits or more, a comma should be used to separate each group of three numbers. When dealing with large numbers (e.g. million or billion), the relevant term should be written out in full and not abbreviated (e.g as ‘mn’ or ‘bn’).



EXAMPLES

one six nine 10 per cent 673

8,700 10,695 2,000,000 2.6 million Second

12th One Hundred and One Arabian Nights


G. Capitalisation


THE RULE

Capitalisation should be consistent throughout a document. As a rule, words should only be capitalised where they:



  • appear at the beginning of a sentence; or

  • are proper nouns.

Where it is important to add expression or meaning to a term, other words may be capitalised.

In the titles of all cited materials, the first letter of the following should be capitalised:



  • the first word in a title;

  • all other words in the title except articles (e.g. ‘the’, ‘a’, ‘an’), conjunctions (e.g. ‘and’, ‘but’) and prepositions (e.g. ‘on’, ‘with’, ‘before’).

Where a phrase appears which is in a foreign language, capitalisation should follow the conventions of that language.

The following words should generally be capitalised wherever they appear:

Act (or Bill) of Parliament Attorney-General/Solicitor-General/Secretary-General

Crown his/her Honour or Lordship/Ladyship

Minister Parliament (but ‘parliamentary’)

The following words should not be capitalised:

common law civil law

federal government

state internet

statute state (or states) party

member state

The words ‘court’ or ‘tribunal’ or ‘committee’5 should be capitalised when referring to a specific court or tribunal (such as the International Court of Justice, or the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, or a particular arbitral tribunal). When used in the general sense, however, the word should not be capitalised.



EXAMPLES

The position of the American courts with respect to recognition and standing is similar to the UK position: a non-recognized state or government cannot appear before the forum courts, nor assert a right to property held in the US.

The Court’s decision in Nicaragua, particularly from a jurisdictional standpoint, has been much criticized.

Whilst the ad hoc Committee here took an overtly aggressive stance towards the decision of the Tribunal, the practice of such committees in general has been far more respectful.

In the case of governments, ‘the standard set by international law’ is […] the standard of secure de facto control of all or most of the state territory.

H. Italicisation

1. Italicisation for emphasis


THE RULE

Words within the text may be italicised for emphasis.

If words in the quotation are italicised for emphasis, either by the original source or by the author subsequently, then this must be indicated by way of a parenthetical footnote, as either ‘(emphasis original)’ or ‘(emphasis added)’, unless the word is one which would ordinarily be italicised, in accordance with Rule I.H.2.

EXAMPLES

The obligation of non-recognition has been pronounced upon most recently in the Wall advisory opinion, where the Court said:

Given the character and importance of the rights and obligations involved, the Court is of the view that all states are under an obligation not to recognize the illegal situation resulting from the construction of the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem. They are also under an obligation not to render aid or assistance in maintaining the situation created by such construction.1

_________________



1 Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, ICJ Reports 2004 p 136, 200 (emphasis added).

2. Italicisation of foreign words


THE RULE

Foreign words and phrases should be italicised, unless otherwise indicated in the GILC. This rule self-evidently also includes Latin maxims such as cujus est solum usque ad caelum et ad inferos, nemo dat quod non habet or aut dedere aut iiudicare.



EXAMPLES

ab initio ad hoc ad idem

amicus curiae bona fide caveat emptor

de facto de iure erga omnes

ius cogens ex gratia ex parte

inter alia prima facie sua sponte

terra nullius vis-à-vis ultra vires

vice versa non est factum ratio decidendi

sui generis habeas corpus obiter dictum

de lege ferenda acta iure imperii acta iure gestionis

quantum meruit res ipsa loquitur ne bis in idem


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