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Universiteitsbibliotheek – LibGuides

Training Public International Law: 6. References

Training Public International Law


When you make use of legislation, case law or literature in an academic paper you acknowledge this by including references. References are recorded uniformly. This is important, as it enables all readers to understand the reference swiftly and ensures that if they wish they can look up the sources themselves without having to perform any unnecessary detective work.
In this course the preferred referencing style is Oscola (4th ed, 2012). It is a footnote based style.
However, Oscola 4th ed. does not cover International Law. Consult the Oscola 2006 section Citing International Law Sources Section.

However, some documents have an official mode of citation, for instance the judgments and decisions of the ICJ and of the European Court of Human Rights:

In principle, always refer to the printed, official version of the ICJ Reports. On the ICJ website you can find the official citation of the ICJ ReportsI.C.J. Reports, with an indication of the year, e.g. Application of the Interim Accord of 13 September 1995 (the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia v. Greece), Judgment, I.C.J. Reports 2011 (II), p. 644.

The mode of citation depends, among other things, on the year. A very short summary can be found in Oscola 4th ed. (p. 31). A more extensive explanation can be found on the ECHR website: Note explaining the mode of citation and how to refer to the judgments and decisions of the Court (old and new)

Saving a hyperlink

If you want to record a document from the internet (book, journal article, case law, website etc) we recommend you to use a long-lasting or permanent hyperlink, for instance the DOI (Digital Object Identifier) or 'permalink' or 'deeplink' or 'stable url' or indicated by an icon such as or or .

Never use hyperlinks from searches. They often involve a (search) session code. Once you finish your search session, the hyperlink does no longer work!

Avoid plagiarism

Plagiarism is a form of fraud and is defined as the wrongful appropriation of another author’s work without proper citation. Check the information on fraud and plagiarism on the UU student website.

Academic integrity

Academic integrity and honesty is an important demand that the academic community imposes on its members. Integrity is crucial in several scientific activities and on different moments:

In research:

  • Be open about your research objectives and share these with the human test subjects, interviewees and survey respondents
  • Protect personal/patients data extremely well
  • Obtain data in a legitimate way (so no fake data)

In research and publishing:

  • Mention external financiers or organisations that commissioned the research to third parties if they are asked for their cooperation: these external interests must also be mentioned in the publication.

In publishing:

  • Include references to the origin of your data. Acknowledge the creators if you use external data.
  • Include references to do justice to the work of others. All insights which are based directly on the work of others must be referred to in a publication, regardless of the form such as direct inspiration, paraphrases or verbatim citations
  • Only refer to sources which you have really read or seen. If a source is referred to the author must always have read or seen the original source. You cannot cite an original source on the basis of merely bibliographical data or mention in another source. At the most you can use indirect references like this "......, cited in....." but you weaken your case if you do this too often.
  • Only cite with respect to content, not because you want to help yourself or others, a journal or an organisation, to citations

In education:

  • Do justice to different scientific perspectives. A lecturer should not consciously withhold scientific viewpoints to students because he does not agree with them, or because they harm his personal or professional interests

Scientists feel an increasing pressure from society to stick to these rules. Being fully independent or at least the indicating clearly any competing interest and  interests of third parties is crucial to the credibility and use of scientific findings. These rules of conduct apply to all members of the scientific community, including students.

There are also various codes of conduct to which researchers and students must abide. You can find these at:

  • The Utrecht University list of codes (with among others the The Netherlands Code of Conduct for Academic Practice and the Code of Conduct for Scrupulous Academic Practice and Integrity)
  • Information on Fraud and Plagiarism at the UU student website
  • COPE: Code of conduct with rules for journal editors and publishers; these describe how editors should judge manuscripts. Many publishers have incorporated COPE into their practices.