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General rules

Chapter 1: General rules

See 1.1

  • When to footnote, See 1.1.1. Footnotes are used to:
    • provide authority for a proposition
    • acknowledge a source that is relevant to an argument
    • provide citation information that enables the identification and retrieval of a source
    • pinpoint to a particular part of a source, such as a page of a book, section of an Act, a quotation of a judicial officer in a case
    • provide other information that is not appropriate to include in the text
  • Insert your footnote number after the punctuation at the end of a sentence, without a space. However, footnote numbers may be placed directly after the relevant portion of the text if this is necessary for the sake of clarity, See 1.1.2
  • Use a semicolon to separate multiple sources in a footnote, See 1.1.3
  • Place a full stop (period) or other relevant punctuation at the end of every footnote, See 1.1.4
  • Note that full stops should only be used to mark the end of a sentence or footnote, not in abbreviations or after initials, See 1.6.1



In Brown v Tasmania, Edelman J held that the legislation was valid in its entirety.1

Cases cited included Brown v Tasmania,2 Waddy v Rabba,3 and R v Schelvis.4

Several cases were cited to support the claim.5


1  (2017) 261 CLR 328.

2  Ibid.

3  [1982] Qd R 20.

4  (2016) 263 A Crim R 1.

5  Morris v Morris [1982] 1 NSWLR 61; R v Visconti [1982] 2 NSWLR 104; Palmer v Ayres [2017] HCA 5.

See 1.1.6 - 1.1.7

  • A pinpoint is a reference to a specific part of a source, such as a page or paragraph number, or section of an Act
  • When referring to a source as a whole, or in general, but not a specific part, you do not need to include a pinpoint
  • When pinpointing a page, just put in the number. Do not put in 'page', 'pg' or 'p'
  • When pinpointing a paragraph, enclose the number in [square brackets]. With the exception of paragraph designations in Legislation, See 3.1.4
  • Separate spans of pinpoints by a non-spaced en-dash (–)
  • Where a span of pages is referred to, only the minimum number of digits necessary should be included in the second number (eg 87–8, 436–62), See 1.10.1

Type of Pinpoint



Page Page Number



Pages Page Number–Page Number




Paragraph [Paragraph Number]



Paragraphs [Paragraph Number]–[Paragraph Number]




Page and paragraph Page Number  [Paragraph Number] 431 [1]
Pages and paragraphs

Page Number [Paragraph Number]–[Paragraph Number]

Page Number–Page Number [Paragraph Number]

Page Number–Page Number [Paragraph Number]–[Paragraph Number]

431 [1]–[3]

431–2 [10]

431–2 [1]–[11]

Refer to the relevant rules in the AGLC for pinpoint examples of different sources.

See 1.5

  • Quotations may be used in the body of the text or the footnotes
  • Short quotations (three lines or less) should be incorporated into the text using single quotation marks
  • Long quotations (more than three lines) should appear indented from the left margin, in a smaller font size, without quotation marks
  • Legislative and treaty extracts may be quoted as a long quotation, no matter the length
  • To indicate a quote within a quote, use double quotation marks in a short quotation and single quotation marks for a long quotation
  • If editing a quotation, See 1.5.4
    • Use an ellipsis (...) to indicate omissions from a quotation, See 1.5.3
    • Use square brackets to indicate alterations and insertions to a quotation, See 1.6.5
  • No special punctuation is needed to introduce quotations, See 1.5.2
  • Closing punctuation, See 1.5.6
    • In a short quotation, place closing punctuation outside of the quotation marks unless the punctuation is important to the quotation, such as a question mark
    • Include closing punctuation in a long quotation. If a long quotation doesn't end in punctuation, finish the quote with an ellipsis



Dworkin argues that positivism's 'central notion of a single fundamental test for law forces us to miss the important roles of these standards that are not rules'.1 [short quote]

Dworkin says that

the fact that when lawyers reason or dispute about legal rights and obligations, particularly

in those hard cases when our problems with those concepts seem most acute, they make

use of standards that do not function as rules, but operate differently as principles, policies,

and other sorts of standards.2 [long quote]

Section 74 of the Criminal Code Act 1899 (Qld) states:

Any person who fights in a prize fight, or subscribes to or promotes a prize fight, is guilty of a misdemeanour, and is liable to imprisonment for 1 year.3 [legislative extract]


Example of an edited quote

Original source:

These staged approaches provide us with structures for determining contested duty issues, but whether the stages in truth involve discrete criteria is a matter of dispute.

Edited Quote:

Todd states that '[t]hese staged approaches provide ... structures for determining contested duty issues'.4

Subsequent references

See 1.4.1

  • This rule is used in conjunction with the Short titles rule, See 1.4.4
  • When citing a source you have previously cited in full, a short form of the citation with reference to the original footnote number where the source was cited in full should be used
  • For subsequent references to cases, use the Case Name or Short Title
  • For subsequent references of secondary sources authored by one or more people, use the author/s' (or editor/s') surname/s
  • For subsequent references of secondary sources with no authors or editors listed, use the title or short title
  • For subsequent references of secondary sources authored by a body (for example a government department), it may be more helpful to use a short title instead of the author's name



1  Denis Ong, Trusts Law in Australia (Federation Press, 5th ed, 2018).

2   Blundell v Queensland Building and Construction Commission [2018] QSC 58 ('Blundell').

3  City of Gold Coast, Our Sporting Lifestyle: Annual Report 2017-18 (Report, 2018) ('Our Sporting Lifestyle') 8.

4  Ong (n 1). [citing source from footnote 1, no pinpoint]

5  Blundell (n 2) [20]. [citing source from footnote 2, pinpoint]

6  Our Sporting Lifestyle (n 3). [citing source from footnote 3, no pinpoint]

See 1.4.4

  • Short titles are a shortened form of the title of a source that you can use in subsequent references to that source
  • When a title is mentioned in the text for the first time, you need to provide the full title, followed by the short title. Subsequent references to the title in the text can then use just the short title
  • Place a short title in brackets and single quotation marks after the initial citation of a source both in text and in the footnote
  • The short title should be italicised or non-italicised, according to the rule of the source you are citing. So cases, Acts and books would be italicised, whereas internet materials and Bills would not.



Implied freedom was examined in Brown v Tasmania ('Brown').

... mentioned that you should carefully read the question twice and underline or highlight what you identify as important terms.17 


1  (2017) 261 CLR 328 ('Brown').


17  'How to Study: Tips and Tricks for Acing Law School', Survive Law (Blog Post, 27 February 2019) <> ('How to Study').

See 1.4.3

  • Use the term 'ibid' to refer to the source in the footnote directly above. For example, if footnote number 3 is to the same source as footnote number 2, you would write 'Ibid' in footnote 3 instead of using the 'subsequent references' rule. It does not matter if the footnotes are on different pages, as long as it is the next numbered footnote
  • Do not use 'ibid' if there is more than one source in the above footnote. In these instances, use the 'subsequent references' rule
  • Do not italicise 'ibid'
  • Where the pinpoint in both footnotes are the same (or both contain no pinpoints), simply use ibid followed by a full stop
  • Where a different pinpoint is used, use ibid followed by a space (no comma) and then the new pinpoint.
  • Where there is a pinpoint in the footnote above but no pinpoint in the next footnote, use the 'subsequent references' rule



1  Brown v Tasmania (2017) 261 CLR 328 ('Brown').  [first citation to a case, including 'short title']

2  Ibid 328.  [citing the same case, pinpointing to the first page]

3  Ibid 340.  [citing the same casenew pinpoint]

4  Ibid.  [citing the same case, same pinpoint]

5  Brown (n 1).  [citing the same case, no pinpoint]

Sources referring to other sources

See 1.3

  • Where important to show that one source is referred to in another source, cite the first source followed by a comma, then use phrases such as 'quoting/quoted in', citing/cited in' or 'discussing/discussed in' (other phrases may be used depending on the context) and cite the second source



1  Thomas v Mowbray (2007) 233 CLR 307, 351 [91] (Gummow and Crennan JJ), quoting Leslie Zines, The High Court and the Constitution (Butterworths, 4th ed, 1997) 195.

2  Justice JD Heydon, 'Judicial Activism and the Death of the Rule of Law' (2003) 23(2) Australian Bar Review 110, 127, citing Mabo v Queensland [No 2] (1992) 175 CLR 1.

Australian Guide to Legal Citation