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Law: UWC Law Referencing Style

Law Referencing

The Law Faculty has its own citation and style guide - consult this guide as it contains how to reference specific legal materials.

The University of the Western Cape defines plagiarism as:

"A means to steal or to pass off as one’s own, the formulation, idea or words of another (i.e. appropriating a formulation, idea or words derived from the intellectual work of another person by incorporating, without crediting such author and source, such formulation, idea or words into one’s own work)".

(Please note: Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to: (a) the appropriation of formulations, ideas or words from the work of another person without acknowledging the author(s) and the source; and (b) the appropriation of work from someone else’s assignment, thesis, test or research paper without acknowledging such other person and/ or source.)

Always acknowledge the direct use of someone else’s words

  • You have to fully cite the source of any direct quotation and identify the quotation by using either quotation marks or by blocking the text (consult the Faculty’s reference guide to determine when to use quotation marks). Thus, when you quote or copy words directly from the source, you must identify the text as a quotation and provide a citation.
  • It must be apparent to the reader which text is your own original words and where you have drawn on someone else’s language.
  • Failure to give attribution when making direct quotations and to identify the words as a quotation is plagiarism.
  • The only instance where you do not need to identify a quotation as such is where you quote from the legislation. However, you still need to fully cite the source. For example: In terms of section 9(1) of the Constitution everyone is equal before the law ...

Always acknowledge words you paraphrase from any source

  • It is permissible to paraphrase only when you have given attribution to the source.
  • Even if you have changed a few words or changed the word order of the sentence, you must give proper citation.
  • If you are closely following the structure of an author’s argument, without proper citation and acknowledgement, it is considered to be plagiarism.
  • Cite (reference) any sources "from which language, facts or ideas have been paraphrased..."

Always acknowledge text you summarize from any source

  • It is permissible to summarise only when you have given attribution to the source.
  • Even if you have summarized text from a source, you must give proper citation.
  • Cite (reference) any sources "from which language, facts or ideas have been paraphrased or summarized..."

Always cite the source of any idea which is not your original thought

• If you express the same idea as the source you are using, you need to cite the source fully.
• Even if you use your own words to convey the ideas of another, you will be guilty of plagiarism if you do not cite or reference the original source.


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