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Law Guide: Referencing

This guide is designed to help you start your legal and law library research.

What is Referencing?

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Referencing is a practice of acknowledging other peoples works, ideas, sources used in a paper, assignment, report and conference papers in academic writing.


Turnitin is an internet based tool used to check and detect plagiarism in an essay or any kind of academic related document. Its a licensed based software which universities and schools obtain through subscription.

To use Turnitin you must first get a code from your supervisor/lecturer before you register as a student as you will not be able to complete registration without this code.

What is a Referencing Style?

A referencing style is the preferred format for creating references to sources of information. Format includes the order of elements of a reference as well as punctuation. Unfortunately there is no universal style and every discipline and journal has its own preferred style.

Why should I reference my assignment?

  1. To acknowledge the sources of information you have used just as authors of books and journal articles list the sources they have used
  2. It is academic courtesy to acknowledge the work of others – none of us know everything and we rely on the work of others
  3. Your lecturers/readers need to see from where you obtained your information 
  4. Your lecturers/readers need to see how widely you have read; whether you have used key sources and how up to date your information is
  5. Your lecturers/readers need to be able to verify the information you have used
  6. Plagiarism – using someone else’s ideas as if they were your own, is unacceptable and a punishable offence.


Plagiarism is not just about copying a classmate's assignment but also taking someone else's ideas and writings from books, journals and websites and pretending they are your own. In the academic environment it is essential to indicate where you got your information and ideas from - your lecturers want to see what you have read.

Referencing style preferred by the UWC Law Faculty