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Plagiarism/Referencing Guidelines
SKY 400 Referencing Guidelines (Print Version)



1.1  Footnote referring to a book
1.2  Footnote referring to a journal article
1.3  Footnote referring to a court case
1.4  Abbreviations commonly used in footnotes


2.1  Books
2.2  Government or official publications
2.3  Encyclopaedia titles
2.4  Journal articles
2.5  The Internet
2.6  Citing articles and abstracts from electronic databases
2.7  Case citations



Footnotes are used in the following instances:

To refer to a source from which information or a quotation has been borrowed.  This is done for the sake of accuracy and possible cross-referencing by the reader and for scientific integrity, which necessitates the acknowledgement of sources.

There are several important considerations to take into account:

  • Any fact or idea which is not common knowledge, or which is not the author’s own work, is borrowed from a secondary source.  This source must be acknowledged.
  • No reference may be made to sources that you have not personally consulted.
  • Incorrect quotations or those of dubious authority detracts from a dissertation.
  • The very fact that a quotation appears in a dissertation implies that the student identifies with it.  If this is not the case, indicate it clearly.
  • Give definitions or explain terminology.  It is often necessary to refer to places elsewhere in the same text where statements are explained or supplemented (cross-reference).  This is done in order to save time and space and to sustain the flow of the argument.
  • Give translations of quotations in foreign languages.
  • Criticise other authors or protect the author against criticism.

Footnotes should be numbered.  Footnotes should be used with discretion.  Long notes should be avoided.

After every statement using information gathered from another source, a footnote must be added.  Insert a footnote after the full stop or other punctuation mark of the particular sentence or paragraph.  Microsoft Word does this automatically.  Just click on "insert" and then on "footnote".  For example:

There is a series of cases in South Africa in which the father of a minor applied for and was granted an interdict.69

The footnote must refer to the particular source from which the statement is taken.  Use the abbreviated form if it is a journal title or book, since a complete reference is given in the bibliography or list of sources consulted at the end of the work.  However, when referring to a court case for the first time, always give the full reference.

69   L v H 1992 (2) SA 594 (E), Meyer v Van Niekerk 1976 (1) SA 252 (T).

1.1  Footnote referring to a book

Abbreviate the information in the footnote, since the particulars of the book appear in the bibliography at the end of the dissertation.  Enough particulars must however be provided to distinguish a publication from other publications by the same author.  This is done by adding the date of publication after the surname:>

19 Schmidt (1999) 442. (author, Schmidt, book published in 1999, reference from page 442).

If you should subsequently refer to the same book, but to a different page, your footnote will look like the following:

19 Schmidt (1999) 560.

The solution suggested by De Wet and Yeats is that the “klaarblyklike en verstandige benadering is natuurlik dat die verweerder op 16 November in mora ex re verval”, want ‘n dag vir prestasie kan ook stilswyend bepaal word.16

16  De Wet (1964) 111.


If the book has no author, but an editor, the editor is used as the filing element.  The footnote will look like this:

21  Kraus JS & Van der Wait SD (eds) (2000) 41. (Editors, published in 2000, reference from page 41). (singular is “ed”.) 

1.2  Footnote referring to a journal article

If possible, give the abbreviated form of the title of the journal in the footnote.  In the bibliography the full title of the journal must be given.  Include a list of abbreviations used at the end of the dissertation.

Swanson ascribed the absence of a court to a “jealous guarding of state sovereignty”.136

(1991) 12 NY Sch Jnl of Intl and Comp Law 307 at 330.

First reference to article in text.1
Second reference to same article, same page, following directly on the first one.2
Following references to same article, but different page.3

 1     De Vos (1999) 20 SALJ 216.
2    Ibid.
3     De Vos (1999) 20 SALJ 216 at 222.

“At best lesbians and gays are tolerated”.8

Morgan (1995) 20 Melbourne University L R 204


The bibliography reads:

Morgan W & Walker K “Tolerance and homosexuality:  a policy of control and containment” (1995) 20 Melbourne University of Law Review 204.

If your next footnote (following directly on the above) refers exactly to the same reference, you need only use ibid, or “as above” in your footnote.

1.3  Footnote referring to a court case

“There is a series of cases in South Africa in which the father of a minor applied for and was granted an interdict”.69

69   L v H 1992 (2) SA (E); Meyer v Van Niekerk 1976 (1) 252 (T).


The bibliography reads:

L v H 1992 (2) SA 594 (E)
Meyer v Van Niekerk 1976 (1) SA 252 (T)


If further on in your dissertation you again refer to the Meyer case, you do not have to again give the full details.  For example:

23  Meyer supra n69.


23  Meyer above n69.

1.4  Abbreviations commonly used in footnotes

supra: “above” eg 2 HOLDSWORTH, supra note 10, at 6.
infra: below
cf (confer) compare
ch: chapter
contra: to refer to a contrary view
ed: edition
et seq (et sequens): and the following
hereinafter: for authority that is too cumbersome to cite with supra, a special shortened form may be established.  Eg "Proposed Amendments to the ... [hereinafter Hearings] (testimony of Prof.  Wayne LaFave).
Ibid (ibidem): the same
id: used when citing to the immediately preceding authority. eg See id at 980
loc cit (loco citato): in the place quoted
n (or fn): footnote
op cit (opera citato): in the book previously mentioned
par: paragraph
s: section
vide: see


At the end of the dissertation, you must give a list of sources that have been referred to.  Books and journal articles are usually listed alphabetically according to the author.  There must also be a separate list for cases and for legislation.

2.1  Books

The particulars of every entry must be stated in the following order:

  • Author (surname and initials, use of capitals is a matter of choice, not separated by a comma)
  • Year of publication (take note that dates of reprints are not given here, only the original date of publication; can be after the author, or after the publisher; just be consistent)
  • Title (in italics)
  • Edition (except the first edition)
  • Place of publication
  • Publisher


Single-author books

Allott A (1970) New essays in African law London: Butterworths

Books with a subtitle

Alston P (1999) The United Nations: A critical appraisal Oxford: Clarendon Press

Books by two or three authors

Where the names of more than one author appear in the work, the most prominent name is indicated first.  If equal prominence is given to names, the name appearing first is used.  Instead of using all three names, the first author's name may be used, together with "et al", in italics.

Schmidt CWH & Rademeyer H (2000) Bewysreg  Durban: Butterworths
Bekker PM et al (1999) Strafprosesreg-handboek Kenwyn: Juta

Books where there is an editor, but not an author

Here, the editor must be used as the filing element.

Kraus JS & Walt SD (eds) (2000) Jurisprudential foundations of corporate and commercial law Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Books authored by institutions, commissions, etc.

South African Law Commission Project 13: Right of recourse of a spouse married out of community of property in respect of contributions of necessaries of the joint household in terms of section 3 of the Matrimonial Property Act (37 of 1953) Report Pretoria: Government Printer 1974 (RP 79/1975) Chairperson: Botha, DH

South African Law Commission Project 22: Review of the law of succession:  intestate succession Report April 1985

South African Law Commission Project 38: Investigation into the legal position of illegitimate children Working Paper 7 February 1985

2.2  Government or official publications


Transvaal (1958) Ordinances.  Pretoria: Government Printer

Cape of Good Hope (1951) The municipal ordinance for the Province of the Cape of Good Hope, no. 19 of 1951 annotated by GH Randell and KC Bax.  Durban: Butterworths


South Africa Ad Hoc Select Committee on Establishment of Commission on Gender Equality (1995) Report Cape Town: Government Printer


Atomic Energy Act, 92 of 1982

Government Gazette

South Africa (1977) The duty of the court to pass judgment on the suspension or revocation of a driver's license. (Proclamation No. R. 327, 1977) Government Gazette 5804:149, November 18 (Regulation Gazette No. 2561).


Gauteng (South Africa) 1996.  Constitution of a Valuation Appeal Board.  Gauteng

Province ordinances.  Land and townships.  Local authorities rating. Doornfontein Lex Patria.  Premier's notice, P.N.9.)

Provincial gazette

North-West (South Africa) 1995.  The determinaton of jurisdiction areas of transitional authorities : Pampierstad Local Council.  North-West provincial gazette extraordinary 5086:58-59, March 1

A White paper published separately

South Africa (1996) Department of Environment Affairs and Tourism.  The development and promotion of tourism in South Africa Pretoria : Government Printer. (WPB-1996)

A White paper published in a government gazette

South Africa (1995) Department of Education.  White paper on education and training. (WPJ-1995) Government gazette 16312, March 15

Proceedings of conferences, and the like

Conference of British teachers of marketing at advanced level (3rd : 1968: Harrogate). 1969.  Proceedings.  Lancaster: University of Lancaster

A book forming part of a named series

Levine ML (ed) (1993) Legal education Aldershot: Dartmouth. (The International Library of Essays in Law and Legal Theory, Legal Cultures 5)

An author's contribution in a book edited by someone else

Skelton A (1997) "Children, young persons and the criminal procedure" in Robinson JA (ed) The law of children and young persons in South Africa Durban: Butterworths

Academic dissertations and theses

These publications are normally not published in the strict sense of the word.

Viljoen FJ (1997) Realisation of human rights in Africa through inter-governmental institutions, unpublished LLD thesis,  University of Pretoria

2.3  Encyclopaedia titles

The description is given in the following sequence:

  • Author(s)
  • Year
  • Title of the article
  • Name of the encyclopaedia (in italics)
  • Edition (except the first)
  • Page(s) on which the article appears

A signed article

Blackman MS (1995) “Companies” The Law of South Africa, vol 4, part 1, 1-397

An article where the author is not mentioned

Phoenicia (1958) The Encyclopaedia Americana, vol 6, 28 (File under title or use anon)

ANON (1974) “Sudwala caves”  Standard Encyclopaedia of Southern Africa, vol 10, 340-341 

2.4  Journal articles

The reference is as follows:

Pantazis A "Lesbian and gay youth in law" (2000) 117 South African Law Journal 51.

“2000” is the year of publication, “117” is the volume and “51” the page on which the article starts.  Leave out the number of the journal (eg 117.2), unless this is essential for finding the article, for example where each consecutive number of the same volume starts from page one.  The article title is placed in quotation marks ( "   "); the journal title in italics.

Newspaper articles are treated in the same manner as journal articles.

Buys W (1987) "Motorversekering: Polishouers nou voor twee keuses gestel" 26 Januarie 1987 Beeld

2.5  The Internet

Internet sources can be very transient in nature and therefore citation to Internet sources is being discouraged unless the materials are unavailable in printed form or are difficult to obtain in their original form.

The following information should be given:

  • Name of author ( if any)
  • Title or top-level heading of the material being cited
  • Uniform Resource Locator (URL)
  • For electronic journals or publications, the actual date of publication should be given
  • The date of access

    Mandela N (1994) Statement of the president of the ANC, Nelson Mandela, at his inauguration as president of the Republic of South Africa, Union Buildings, Pretoria, 10 May 1994 <http://www.anc.org.za:80/ancdocs/speeches/inaugta.html> (accessed 10 October 1996)

    "Sierra Leone rebels violating Peace Accord" <http://www.hrw.org/press/1999/aug/sierra3OO8.htm> (accessed 30 August 1999)

    Report of the Secretary-General on the Establishment of the Special Court for Sierra Leone UN Doc S/2000/915<http://www.un.org/Docs/sc/reports/2000/915e.pdf> (accessed on 5 February 2001)

2.6  Citing articles and abstracts from electronic databases

The basic retrieval statement for CD-ROM databases is as follows:

Retrieved from [source] database ([name of database], CD-ROM, [release date], [item no. -- if applicable])

The basic retrieval statement for on-line databases is:

Retrieved [month, day, year] from [source] on-line database ([name of database], [item no. -- if applicable])

The basic retrieval statement for databases accessed via the Web is:>

Retrieved [month day, year] from [source] database ([name of database], [item no. -- if applicable]) on the World Wide Web: [URL]


Federal Bureau of Investigation (1998, March) Encryption: Impact on law enforcement Washington, DC: Author.  Retrieved from SIRS database (SIRS Government Reporter, CD-ROM, Fall 1998 release)

Davis T (1992) Examining educational malpractice jurisprudence: Should a cause of action be created for student-athletes?  Denver University Law Journal 69, 57+.  Retrieved January 27, 1999, from WESTLAW online database (69 DENULR 57) 

2.7  Case citations

2 Searle 15 (Oldest of the reports, from 1828-1910, bears the names of the reporters, for example Menzies)

1910 TPD 42 (Pre-1947 law reports, according to province, such as GWL, TPD)

1991 (1) SA 1 (A) (South African Law Reports)

1995 (2) PH A23 (A) (Prentice-Hall reports)

[1997] 1 All SA 1 (A) (All South African Reports, square brackets compulsory)

[1997] QB 558 (Queen's Bench case)

410 US 113 (1973) (Reference to the official United States Reports)

93 S Ct 705 (Reference to an unofficial edition of US decisions, in this case the Supreme Court Reporter)

35 LEd 2d 147 (Reference to an unofficial edition of US decisions, in this case the Lawyers Edition, second series, page 147)

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