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Referencing: AGLC

Australian Guide to Legal Citation (AGLC)

Law students are required to use the Australian Guide to Legal Citation (AGLC) 4th edition referencing style, available online via the University of Melbourne (Melbourne University Law Review).

The AGLC details how to reference primary and secondary legal materials, including cases, legislative & quasi-legislative materials, journal articles, books, legal encyclopaedia, loose-leaf materials, working papers, treaties, United Nations materials, and more.

To obtain a copy of the AGLC4 from the publisher, either:

  1. Order a copy;
  2. Download the view-only PDF version  (Note: this does not include Appendices A-C)

AGLC (4th edition) print copies are also available in ECU's Joondalup, Mount Lawley and Bunbury Libraries.


How to use AGLC4 effectively:

  1. Read the Part 1: General Rules, which outline the conventions used across all legal resources - then go to the specific resource type.
  2. Use the most specific rule for a resource type.
  3. Where a resource is not included in AGLC4, adapt the closest fitting rule - common sense should be applied here.

AGLC (4th edition) Style

AGLC4 is a footnote citation style, specifically designed to identify legal sources, and consists of:

  1. Numerical citations in the body of your text, using a superscript (raised) number, corresponding to....
  2. ....a list of footnotes at the bottom (foot) of each page, for all citations on that page.
  3. Bibliography provided at the end of the paper, giving details of each source mentioned in the text, as well as other sources consulted while researching your paper.

(Note: A bibliography is optional at the discretion of your Lecturer, and may not need to include other sources consulted - check your specific Unit requirements.)

AGLC4 is medium neutral, meaning there is no need to include the online reference to a case, Act, article, book or other source of legal information, unless it is not available in print and solely published online.

General AGLC4 style notes

  • Full stops should not be used in abbreviations, or after initials.
  • Pinpoint references are only used for in-text citations, and should only be proceeded by the correct abbreviation for the format (see AGLC Abbreviations below)
  • A pinpoint reference to a paragraph should be in [square brackets], e.g. [5].
  • Ranges of pages should be separated by an "en-dash" (e.g. 12--7), and paragraphs listed discretely separated by an "en-dash" (e.g. [12]--[13]).

MS Word - how to create footnotes

AGLC Abbreviations

Australian Jurisdictions

The following abbreviations should be used for Australian jurisdictions:

  • Cth - Commonwealth
  • ACT - Australian Capital Territory
  • NSW - New South Wales
  • NT - Northern Territory
  • Qld - Queensland
  • SA - South Australia
  • Tas - Tasmania
  • Vic - Victoria
  • WA - Western Australia
Law Report Series (Authorised)
Court / Jurisdiction Report Series Years
High Court of Australia CLR 1903--
Federal Court of Australia FCR 1984--
Australian Capital Territory ACTR (in ALR) 1973--2008
ACTLR 2007--
New South Wales SR (NSW) 1901--59
NSWR 1960--70
NSWLR 1971--
Northern Territory NTR (in ALR) 1979--91
NTLR 1990--
Queensland QSR 1902--57
Qd R 1958--2020
QR 2020--
South Australia SALR 1899--1920
SASR 1921--
Tasmania Tas LR 1904--40
Tas SR 1941--78
Tas R 1979--
Victoria VLR 1875--1956
VR 1957--
Western Australia WALR 1898--1958
WAR 1958--
Australian Courts

Below is a list of current preferred unique court identifiers for Australian Supreme and superior Commonwealth courts, and the years for which the courts allocated judgment numbers themselves.  A more extensive list is available in Appendix B of the AGLC4.

Court Unique Court Identifier Years
High Court of Australia HCA 1998-
High Court of Australia - Special Leave Dispositions HCASL 2008-
Federal Court of Australia FCA 1999-
Federal Court of Australia - Full Court FCA 1999-2001
FCAFC 2002-
Family Court of Australia FamCA 1998-
Family Court of Australia - Full Court FamCA 1998-2007
FamCAFC 2008-
Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory (including Full Court) ACTSC 1998-
Australian Capital Territory Court of Appeal ACTCA 1998-
Supreme Court of New South Wales NSWSC 1999-
New South Wales Court of Appeal NSWCA 1999-
New South Wales Court of Criminal Appeal NSWCCA 1999-
Supreme Court of the Northern Territory (including Full Court) NTSC 1999-
Northern Territory Court of Appeal NTCA 2000-
Northern Territory Court of Criminal Appeal NTCCA 2000-
Supreme Court of Queensland QSC 1998-
Queensland Court of Appeal QCA 1998-
Supreme Court of South Australia (including Full Court until end of 2009) SASC 1999-
Supreme Court of South Australia - Full Court SASCFC 2010-
Supreme Court of Tasmania (including Full Court until end of 2009) TASSC 1999-
Supreme Court of Tasmania - Full Court TASFC 2010-
Tasmanian Court of Criminal Appeal TASCCA 2010-
Supreme Court of Victoria VSC 1998-
Victorian Court of Appeal VSCA 1998-
Supreme Court of Western Australia WASC 1999-
Western Australian Court of Appeal (including Full Court until end of 2004) WASCA 1999-

AGLC abbreviations for legislative materials (Rule 3.1.4)

Designation Abbreviation / Plural
Appendix app / apps
Article art / arts
Chapter ch / chs
Clause cl / cls
Division div / divs
Paragraph para / paras
Part pt / pts
Schedule sch / schs
Section s / ss
Sub-clause sub-cl / sub-cls
Subdivision sub-div / sub-divs
Sub-paragraph sub-para / sub-paras
Subsection sub-s / sub-ss
Delegated Legislation  (Rules 3.1.4 & 3.4)
Order ord / ords
Regulation reg / regs
Rule r / rr
Sub-regulation sub-reg / sub-regs
Sub-rule sub-r / sub-rr

Numbered or lettered subsections should be placed in parentheses immediately following the section number. 

Cases in Law Report Series ordered by volume

A case reference takes the following format:

  • Footnote:  Party name v Party name (Year) Volume Law Report Series Start Page, pinpoint
  • Bibliography: Party name v Party name (Year) Volume Law Report Series Start Page

Party names are italicised, separated by v with NO full stop

Year and Volume Numbers

If a Case appears in a report series ordered by volume, the year appears in (brackets) with the volume after.

Cases in Law Report Series ordered by volume

If a Case appears in a report series ordered by year of decision, the year appears in [square brackets] (the Series may have yearly Volumes - include this after the [year].

Cases in Law Report Series ordered by year


Law Report Series

The abbreviation of the law report series should adhere to AGLC rule 2.3.2, and use the abbreviations which appear in the AGLC Appendix A. Cases are available in report series (authorised / unauthorised) or unreported from the courts directly. The authorised version should always be used where available.

Order of preference for citing cases:

  1. Authorised report series
  2. Generalist unauthorised report
  3. Subject-specific unauthorised report
  4. Unreported (with medium neutral citation) - i.e. with unique court ID
  5. Unreported (no medium neutral citation) (AGLC rule 2.3.2)

Page Numbers

  • Both footnote and bibliography references should include the starting page number; only a footnote citation includes a pinpoint reference (page or paragraph).
    • A page pinpoint should appear as a number e.g. 265;
    • a paragraph pinpoint should appear as a number within square brackets e.g. [7]  (AGLC rule 1.1.6).
    • Spans of pinpoint references, such as multiple pages or sections should be separated by a non-spaces en-dash e.g. [5]-[6] (AGLC rule 1.1.7)

Footnote examples

It was held in Markopoulous v Wedlock that the court must exercise care in intervening with a grant of injunctive relief.1

The court must exercise care in intervening with a grant of injunctive relief to address procedural irregularities.2

The case of Stubley v Western Australia considered the question of whether evidence possessed "significant probative value".3  The court found that the evidence did not have significant probative value and should not have been admitted into evidence at trial.4


1 Markopoulous v Wedlock [2008] WASC 3, [67].

2 Ibid   (AGLC rule 1.4.3)

3 Stubley v Western Australia (2011) 242 CLR 374, 397.

2 Ibid 399.


Unreported Decisions with a Medium Neutral Citation


Unreported decisions (those not published in an authorised law report series) with a medium neutral citation (a citation system that does not depend on publisher or medium) should be cited a shown above. However, a medium neutral citation should only be used where the medium neutral citation was allocated by the court itself.

Otherwise, cite as Unreported Decisions without a medium neutral citation, as below:

Unreported Decisions WITHOUT a Medium Neutral Citation
Sentencing Remarks


As most jurisdictions only display their sentencing decisions for a limited period of time, you may be beneficial to use the Australian Current Law - Reporter on LexisNexis AU. To restrict the results to sentencing specific information use the Sentencing search field.



When referring to legislation such as ‘the Act,’ Act should be capitalized and in italics

A legislation reference takes the following format:

  • Footnote: Short Title (Year) (Jurisdiction Abbreviation) pinpoint
  • Bibliography: Short Title (Year) (Jurisdiction Abbreviation)

Title (Short)

Each Act has a short title given in section 1, which includes the year the Act was passed.


The short title does not include the jurisdiction, when you are citing Legislation in an essay or other document and the jurisdiction is not obvious, you must add the jurisdictional notation in the in-text citation.

In the case of this example: Crimes Act 2008 (WA)

AGLC rule 3.1.3 requires that an abbreviated form of the jurisdiction in which the Act was passed should be included in parenthesis after the year. The acceptable form of abbreviation for the jurisdiction can be found at this rule. 

Pinpoint Reference (footnote only)

Pinpoint references in an Act usually comprise of an abbreviation and a number, separated by a space.

Where a subsection is added, it should appear in parenthesis after the section number with no space. In the example here:

Crimes Act 2008 (WA) s 7(sub-s4)

The abbreviation should correspond to the highest ‘level’ cited in the pinpoint reference.  In the example above, the highest level of the pinpoint is to a section, therefore the abbreviation being used is ‘s’.

Footnote examples

Section 6 of the Mental Health Act 2014 (WA) sets out.....1

A departmental officer is authorised to possess prohibited drugs.2

A person may apply for a medicinal cannabis incense that authorises them to produce cannabis or cannabis resin for medicinal purposes.3

Immigration (Education) Regulations 1992 (Cth) commenced on 1 January 1993.4


Mental Health Act 2014 (WA) s 6(1).

Misuse of Drugs Regulations 1982 (WA) s 4A.

Narcotic Drugs Act 1967 (Cth) s 8E(1)(b).

Immigration (Education) Regulations 1992 (Cth) s 2.


Australian Constitutions

The Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia may be cited as the Australian Constitution, the Commonwealth Constitution, or simply the Constitution if there is no ambiguity as to which constitution is being cited. 

Where necessary, the Australian Constitution may also be referred to within its enacting legislation as:

Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act 1900 (Imp) 63 & 64 Vict, c 12, s9.

Constitutions of the Australian states should be cited as normal statues.


Bills are cited in the same way as Acts, except the title and year are not italicised.

A Bill reference takes the following format:

  • Footnote: Short Title (Year) (Jurisdiction Abbreviation) pinpoint
  • Bibliography: Short Title (Year) (Jurisdiction Abbreviation)

Pinpoint references are made to a clause or clauses, abbreviated to ‘cl’ and ‘cls’ respectively (AGLC rule 3.5).

Footnote examples

The Police Amendment Bill 2006 (WA) was introduced into parliament by....1

Changes to social security law were introduced into parliament in 2016 and passed by both houses in 2017.2


1 Police Amendment Bill 2006 (WA).

Social Services Legislation Amendment (Simplifying Student Payments) Bill 2017 (Cth).


Explanatory memoranda

The Explanatory Memorandum for a Bill is cited the same as the Bill, prefixed with the term "Explanatory Memorandum" as in the example (AGLC rule 3.6)

A reference to Explanatory memoranda for a Bill takes the following format:

  • Footnote: Explanatory Memorandum, Short Title (Year) (Jurisdiction Abbreviation) pinpoint

  • Bibliography: Explanatory Memorandum, Short Title (Year) (Jurisdiction Abbreviation)


A pinpoint to a Explanatory Memoranda should be to a page and follow AGLC conventions for page abbreviations.

Footnote examples

Clause 10 of the Bill was enacted with the purpose of ensuring that the powers conferred to a 'police officer' are also conferred to an Aboriginal police liaison officer.1

The Explanatory Memoranda, Police Amendment Bill 2006 (WA) shows that the amendments were made following advise from the State Solicitor's Office.2


1 Explanatory Memoranda, Police Amendment Bill 2006 (WA), p. 2.

Ibid p. 4.


Parliamentary debates (Hansard)

The format of a reference for Hansard is:

  • Footnote: Jurisdiction, Parliamentary Debates, Chamber, Full Date of Debate, Pinpoint (Name of Speaker)
  • Bibliography: Jurisdiction, Parliamentary Debates, Chamber, Full Date of Debate, Pinpoint (Name of Speaker)

Page numbers to Hansard should be included where available 

  • The .PDF version available from the parliament websites contains accurate page numbers.


Fully written out


"MP," "MLC," "MLA," "Senator" and other designations inducating membership of Parliment should not be included in the speaker's name.


If the speaker holds a position within a ministry or shadow minister that is particularly relevant, this can be included in the citation using the following format:

Jurisdiction, Parliamentary Debates, Chamber, Full Date of Debate, Pinpoint (Name of Speaker, Position)

See Rule 1.13 – Bibliographies

  • Check your assignment instructions:
    • Do you need to include a bibliography? Or footnotes only?
    • Unless otherwise advised, include ALL sources relied upon, not only those referred to in the narrative and footnotes.
  • Divide into appropriately headed sections; only use sections relevant to your resources
  • Order each section alphabetically by surname of the first-listed author, or if
    • Institutional author = by first word of the name, excluding 'the'
    • No author = by first word of the title, excluding 'the' 
  • Left-justified
  • No pinpoints
  • No full stops

ECU predominantly uses the American Psychological Association (APA) referencing style (7th edition), and most of your assignments will use this style. 

However, for Australian legal materials, Criminology & Justice and Business Law (e.g. LAW1100) courses at ECU use a hybrid form of APA and AGLC4 referencing, which combines AGLC4 resource citation rules with the APA in-text / end-text citation style.

Legal materials include: Cases, legislative & quasi-legislative materials, treaties

Check your Unit Plan for specific requirements - your Lecturer will state if you should use AGLC4 for legal materials (This usually includes Australian and other jurisdictions, except the USA, which is covered by APA). 

For all other resources, use the standard APA referencing style.