Guidance on how to reference and write a law essay
Citation (See Thomas O'Malley, Sources Of Irish Law, 2nd ed., Dublin:
Roundhall Sweet & Maxwell, 2001, pp. 25 - 47.)
• The name of a case is almost always places in italics and the remainder of
the citation is in ordinary type, e.g The State (Healy) v Donoghue  IR
• Typical citations for criminal cases would be as follows:
o The People (Director of Public Prosecutions) v Tiernan  IR
o The People (Attorney General) v O'Callaghan  IR 501
o The abbreviations DPP and AG are generally accepted.
• A typical citation for a civil case would be:
o Murphy v Kelly  IR 167
• Some cases in the High Court are begun by petition, especially in the
area of company law, in probate cases dealing with the validity or
interpretation of wills and in Article 26 references e.g.
o In re Atlantic Magnetics Ltd.  2 IR 561
o In re The Matrimonial Home Bill 1993  1 IR 305
• Some cases may be heard in camera and only the initials of the parties
involved are used, e.g.
o RC v E.B.  1 IR 305
(b) Law Reports
• Once you have correctly cited the names of the parties to a case, you then
need to state where this case is found.
• The basic rule is: Give the names of the parties, followed by the year, the
volume number (if relevant), and the abbreviation of the law report where
the case is reported, followed by the page number, e.g., Donoghue v
Stevenson  AC 562; de Burca v Attorney General  IR 38
• All law report series have abbreviations, e.g. IR = Irish Reports, ILRM =
Irish Law Reports Monthly.
• Some law reports contain different volumes and therefore the volume
number should be used in the citation, Glencar Explorations plc v Mayo
County Council  2 IR 237
For an unreported judgment, the format is:
De Rossa v Independent Newspapers, unreported, Supreme Court,
January 30 1999.
• Use the short title of the Act, followed by the year