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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 source details for a case, Act, article, book or other source of legal information, unless the resource is not available in print and solely published online, e.g. a website.

General AGLC4 style notes

  • Full stops should not be used in abbreviations, or after initials
  • Pinpoint references are only used in footnotes, and should be proceeded by the correct abbreviation for the format (see AGLC Abbreviations below)
  • A case law pinpoint reference to a paragraph should be in [square brackets], e.g. [5].  For legislation, use para, e.g. para 5
  • Ranges of pages or paragraphs should be separated by an "en-dash", e.g. 12--15 or  [2]--[4]

MS Word - how to create footnotes

If you have used an AI tool, you must acknowledge that use as part of academic integrity. Ensure you verify the authenticity of the sources cited by the AI tool, and confirm the information provided applies in the relevant jurisdiction. Apply AGLC style legal citations for sources in your footnotes.

When acknowledging use of the AI tool, Melbourne University Law Review (publishers of the AGLC) advise following AGLC4 Rule 7.12 for Written Correspondence:

Output from [program], [creator] to [recipient], [full date]. 1 Output from ChatGPT, OpenAI to John Smith, 23 February 2023.

Discursive text may be used in the footnote to provide information about the prompts used to generate the output, in accordance with Rule 1.1.5.

An appendix may be used in order to provide comprehensive information about the series of prompts and outputs used to generate the output.

2 Output from ChatGPT, OpenAI to John Smith, 23 February 2023. The output was generated in response to the prompt, ‘Provide an overview of the creation of the Australian Guide to Legal Citation’: see below Appendix A.


Each unit you take will have different rules for how you may use an AI tool or text generator - clarify with your lecturer if your use is appropriate before you rely on one of these tools for help. Note the advice regarding providing information about prompts and outputs in discursive text and an appendix.

In your work, include an output acknowledgement statement explaining you have used the tool in the footnotes.

AI tools are new and constantly developing, so this guidance may change over time.

AGLC Abbreviations

Australian Jurisdictions

The following AGLC 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)

In Australia, each State and Territory has one series of authorised law reports approved by the judiciary, the government and/or the official law reporting council for that jurisdiction. If a case appears in an authorised series, courts in all jurisdictions require the authorised report citation.

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

Below is a list of current preferred unique court identifiers for Australian Supreme and superior Commonwealth courts, and the year when the court commenced allocating judgment numbers (medium neutral citations).  A more extensive list is available in Appendix B of the AGLC Manual.

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 pinpoint abbreviations for legislative materials (Rule 3.1.4)

Numbered or lettered subsections should be placed in parentheses immediately following the section number., e.g. s 5(2)(a)

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


Examples: Case law

Below are examples of legal citations for Reported and Unreported Decisions. Each example includes a footnote citation and bibliography reference, with further explanation for each resource type.

For other resource types, please refer to the Australian Guide to Legal Citation (Melbourne University Law Review Association, 4th ed, 2018).

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 / Pinpoints

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-spaced en-dash e.g. [5]-[6] (AGLC rule 1.1.7)

A reported case citation 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


Year and Volume Numbers

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

Cases in Law Report Series ordered by volume


If a Case appears in a law report series ordered by year of decision, the year appears in [square brackets] - the series may have volumes for that year - include this after the [year] x.

Cases in Law Report Series ordered by year


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.   (see AGLC rule 1.4.3)
3 Stubley v Western Australia (2011) 242 CLR 374, 397.
4 Ibid 399.


Markopoulous v Wedlock [2008] WASC 3

Stubley v Western Australia (2011) 242 CLR 374


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 below.

A medium neutral citation should only be used where the medium neutral citation was allocated by the court itself.  (AGLC4 Rule 2.3.1)
Otherwise, cite as an unreported decision without a medium neutral citation.  (AGLC4 Rule 2.3.2)

An unreported decision with a medium neutral citation takes the following format:

  • Footnote:  Party name v Party name [Year] Unique Court ID Judgment Number, pinpoint.
  • Bibliography: Party name v Party name  [Year] Unique Court ID Judgment Number
Unreported Decisions with a Medium Neutral Citation


An unreported decision without a medium neutral citation takes the following format:

  • Footnote:  Party name v Party name (Court NameJudge(s), Full Datepinpoint.
  • Bibliography: Party name v Party name (Court NameJudge(s), Full Date)
Unreported Decisions WITHOUT a Medium Neutral Citation




A coroner's inquest citation takes the following format:

  • Footnote:  Inquest into the Death of Full Name (Court Name, Coroner, Full Date) pinpoint.
  • Bibliography:  Inquest into the Death of Full Name (Court Name, Coroner, Full Date)
Coroner's Inquest Report



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 Lexis Advance. To restrict the results to sentencing specific information, enter sentencing in the 'Terms' search field.

An transcript of proceedings citation takes the following format:

  • Footnote:  Transcript of Proceedings, Party name v Party name (Court NameProceeding NumberJudge(s), Full Datepinpoint.
  • Bibliography: Transcript of Proceedings, Party name v Party name (Court NameProceeding NumberJudge(s), Full Date)
Sentencing Remarks


Examples: Legislative Materials (AGLC4 Rule 3)

Below are examples of legal citations for Acts/Statutes, Bills and Explanatory Memoranda. Each example includes a footnote citation and bibliography reference, with further explanation for each resource type.

For other resource types, please refer to the Australian Guide to Legal Citation (Melbourne University Law Review Association, 4th ed, 2018).

A Statute or Act citation takes the following format:

  • Footnote: Short Title Year (Jurisdiction abbreviation) pinpoint.
  • Bibliography: Short Title Year (Jurisdiction abbreviation)

When referring to legislation in the body of text as ‘the Act’, Act should have an initial capital and in italics

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. 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 jurisdiction abbreviations to be used can be found at Rule 3.1.3, e.g.:

Modern Slavery Act 2018 (Cth).

Pinpoint Reference (in footnote)

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

Where a section and subsection is cited, the pinpoint should refer to the highest level, i.e.:

Crimes Act 2008 (WA) s 7(4).    [not: s 7 sub-s 4  nor  sub-s 7(4)]

Footnote examples

Section 6(1) of the Mental Health Act 2014 (WA) sets out.....needs no footnote as fully addressed in text

A departmental officer is authorised to possess prohibited drugs.1

A person may apply for a medicinal cannabis licence that authorises them to produce cannabis or cannabis resin for medicinal purposes.2

Immigration (Education) Regulations 1992 (Cth) commenced on 1 January 1993.3 The Act stipulates ...4


Misuse of Drugs Regulations 1982 (WA) sch 1 cl 2.
Narcotic Drugs Act 1967 (Cth) pt II div 4.
Immigration (Education) Regulations 1992 (Cth) s 2.
Ibid s 5.


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 typically made to a clause / clauses or sub-clause / sub-clauses (AGLC rule 3.1.4).

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) cl 2.

Social Services Legislation Amendment (Simplifying Student Payments) Bill 2017 (Cth) sub-cl 3(a)(ii).

The Explanatory Memorandum for a Bill is cited the same as the Bill, prefixed with the term "Explanatory Memorandum" as in the example.

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

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

A pinpoint for an Explanatory Memorandum should be to a page.

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 Memorandum, Police Amendment Bill 2006 (WA) shows that the amendments were made following advice from the State Solicitor's Office.2


1 Explanatory Memorandum, Police Amendment Bill 2006 (WA) 3.

Ibid 5.

Examples: United Nations / WHO Documents (AGLC4 Rule 9)

Notes on referencing UN or WHO materials:

  • The format of a reference for an official UN or WHO document should include as a minimum:

    • Footnote: Author, TitleResolution or Decision Number, UN Document Number (full date) pinpoint
    • Bibliography: Author, Title, Resolution or Decision Number
  • Author: include only if an individual or body (other than a principal organ of the UN or WHO) is identified. Written out in full, no abbreviations (Rule 9.2.1)
  • Title: in italics (Rule 9.2.2)
  • Resolution or Decision Number: (Rule 9.2.3)
  • UN Document Number: (Rule 9.2.10) or WHO document number as relevant
  • Full Date: (Rule 9.2.11)
  • Pinpoint: should be included where available.

Footnote examples

All people are considered to hold "equal and inalienable rights".1

A subjective perception or assessment of risk can lead to patients ignoring clinical advice.2


1 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, GA Res 217A (III). UN GAOR, UN Doc A/180 (10 December 1948) 1.

2 Clinical Care for Survivors of Ebola Virus Disease: Interim Guidance, WHO Doc WHO/EVD/OHE/PED/16.1 Rev.2 (11 April 2016) 26 [2].

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, when citing Australian legal materials, Criminology & Justice, Business Law (e.g. LAW1100), Cybersecurity and other 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.

These Australian legal materials include: Cases, legislative & quasi-legislative materials, treaties, inquests

Check your Unit Plan for specific requirements - your Lecturer will state if you should use AGLC4 for legal materials (excluding the USA, which is covered by APA). 

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