How to use IBID in OSCOLA referencing style


Using IBID in OSCOLA referencing style can be challenging if the student or researcher do not know how to go about it. To many researchers, OSCOLA referencing consumes so much time and the use of Microsoft Word makes it complex for researchers to cite case laws and sources in the most appropriate form. In the use of OSCOLA referencing style, it is observed that some researchers do not even understand some concepts or terms provided and applicable in OSCOLA and one particular term which has been a sort of confusion causing students to lose marks in the use of OSCOLA referencing style is the use of “ibid”.

It is possible that through the contents of legal documents or texts, one must have come across the use of “ibid” leaving one to wonder as to meaning, usage or role in the context of the documents or texts being read.

The truth is that the confusion that comes with understanding the appropriate use of “ibid” as a term in OSCOLA referencing style is not something that is limited to just a few persons or researchers. However, ignorance can never be seen or accepted as an excuse. In most cases, the determination of the effective or successful completion of coursework or research in law is not merely based on the accuracy of the contents of work produced as high consideration is given to the correct application of referencing terms and guidelines.

This implies that students, researchers are often overwhelmed with the hassles and taxing duties of ensuring that the coursework, assignments or research study in law are correct and appropriate enough. Based on the foregoing, it is imperative that one comprehends the relevance of the Latin term “ibid” whenever one is writing a coursework, assignment, dissertation or research study in law.


Meaning of the term “ibid” -Using IBID in OSCOLA referencing style

At this point, it is possible that one may still be finding it complex understanding or even proffering a meaning of ‘ibid’. Ibid in the context of this article is an abbreviation of a Latin word fully stated as ‘ibīdem’. It means that attempting to find a meaning of ibid, one would need to find the meaning of ibidem as they are the same thing. Accordingly, ibid or ibidem means “used in the same place”.

Knowing that OSCOLA referencing has to do with the use of footnote style of referencing; where ibid is used in the context of OSCOLA referencing style, what it implies is that when and where one wishes to refer to a particular source which has already been cited in a preceding footnote, one is expected or mandated to use ‘ibid’ in place of such preceding source.

Using “ibid.”

Remember and never forget that ‘ibid’ is an abbreviation as already established and therefore it must end with a full stop (ibid.). Importantly, one should note that ‘ibid.’ is only meant to be used and should be used for the immediately preceding footnote.

For instance if in footnote 4, one wishes to make reference to an authority or source already cited in footnote 3, it is permissible and mandated that one should use ‘ibid.’; but one cannot make use of ‘ibid.’ to refer to footnote 5 in footnote 7 where the immediately preceding footnote 6 has different authority or source from footnote 5. Note that there are ways to make such other references.

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Furthermore, one needs to be informed about the use of ibid in chains. There is nothing wrong with using ibid. in chains, for instance, where footnotes 6, 7, 8, 9 or more without any break are making all making reference to footnote 5, a student, the researcher may continue to use ibid. until one has reached a footnote with a different source or authority. Where such a different source or authority has been cited before the ibid chain began, one must use ‘n (and a number of the particular footnote having the source or reference)’.

Take, for instance, footnotes 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 are all ibid chain making reference to footnote 9 while the ibid chain breaks in footnote 16 which makes reference to footnote 6 using “n6”; peradventure one wishes to reference same footnote 9 that has the ibid chain initially in footnote 17, one is not expected to use ibid. but to use “n9” and where the footnote 18 or footnotes 18 and 19 are also making reference to same footnote 9 already recited in footnote 17 as “n9”, one is meant to use ibid for the footnote 18 or footnotes 18 and 19 respectively.

Common Errors –Using IBID in OSCOLA referencing style

Importantly, do not make the mistake of italicising ibid. as ibid. As one studying law or conducting research or coursework in law, it is possible that one must have heard of the general rule of italicising every Latin word or maxim used. But ibid. has formally been adopted as part of the lexicon in the English language and thus there is no need to italicise it. Also, do not enclose ibid. with the use of inverted commas or quotation marks and finally do not start ibid with a capital letter or write it in capital letters as “Ibid or IBID”.

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  1. To end the discourse on how to use ibid in OSCOLA referencing style, the key rules are summarised below:
  2. Always end the citation with a full stop
  3. ‘ibid.’ should only be used to reference the immediately preceding footnote
  4. ‘ibid.’ can be used more than once consecutively in form of ibid. chains
  5. On no account should ibid. be italicised or be started in capital letter or be written in capital letter
  6. Where ibid. is used alongside other authorities in the same footnote, it should be separated with the use of a semicolon

The possibility of making the maximum grades is guaranteed if one is able to comprehend the term and rules as discussed above. However, it is important that one also acquaint oneself with OSCOLA referencing Guide as a whole in order to grasp the wholesomeness of the referencing style. Also, one must double-check and proofread the contents of the whole work with concentration on the references.

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