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The Australian Guide to Legal Citation, 3rd edition (AGLC3) is a footnote citation style specifically designed to identify legal sources. It does not deal with legal style or writing skills. AGLC3 consists of:

  1. Citations in the body of the page, using a superscript (raised) number
  2. A list of footnotes at the bottom (foot) of each page, for all citations on that page
  3. A Bibliography provided at the end of the paper, giving details of each source mentioned in the text, as well as details of other sources consulted in preparing the paper.  A bibliography is optional and required at the discretion of individual academics.

AGLC3 is medium neutral, that is, there is no need to include the online reference to a case, act, article, book or other source of legal information unless it is not available in print and solely published online.

How to use AGLC3 effectively:

  1.   Read the general rules (Part 1) which outline the conventions used across all legal sources - then go to the specific source type.
  2.    The most specific rule for a source should be used.
  3.    Where a source is not included in AGLC3, adapt the closest fitting rule; common sense applies here.

References in the Body of Your Paper

Superscript numbers with corresponding footnotes should be used whenever information or ideas from sources are discussed. Sources such as legislation, cases, books, journals, reports, newspapers, interviews, radio, television and information from the Internet must be acknowledged in text and detailed in footnotes.

Footnotes are also used to provide extra information that is not appropriate to include in the body of the text. Additionally, they are used to back up an argument as well as to acknowledge a source that has contributed to an argument.

The superscript number should be placed at the end of the portion of text to which the corresponding footnote refers. The number should appear after any relevant punctuation (such as a full stop or a comma).

To create Footnotes:

  1. Click the mouse so that the insertion pointer is immediately to the right of the text that you want the footnote to reference. There should be no spaces.
  2. Click the References tab. You should see the Footnotes Group.
  3. From the Footnotes group, choose either the Insert Footnote command button. [A number is superscripted to the text, and you're instantly whisked to the bottom of the page (footnote), where you type the footnote.]
  4. Type the footnote or endnote. There is no need to type the note's number; it's done for you automatically.

The keyboard shortcut for inserting a footnote is Alt+Ctrl+F.


A bibliography must list all sources that were used, not only those referred to in the text and footnotes. Sources should be listed alphabetically under each heading. Full stops should not follow the citation.AGLC3 recommends dividing your bibliography into the following:

A. Articles/Books/Reports: Where there is one author, the author's first name and surname should be inverted and separated by a comma. When there are two or more authors, only the first author's name and surname should be inverted.

B. Cases: Use only surnames, only cite the first plaintiff and defendant. Do not use '& Anor' or '& Ors.' Do not include punctuation in abbreviations. A reported version of a case should always be cited in preference to an unreported version. Authorised report series should be used when available. Generalist (unauthorised) report series should be cited in preference to subject specific (unauthorised) report series.

C. Legislation: Cite the short title of the Act and the year in which the Act was originally passed in italics. Citations of an Act refer to that Act as amended (and consolidated). Do not italicise the title and year of a bill.

D. Treaties: A citation of a treaty should include the treaty title in italics as it appears on the first page of the treaty. For multilateral treaties with more than three signatories, the names of states parties should not be included after the title.

E. Other: See the complete guide for material covered by this division, which includes Law Reform Commission Reports, Legal Encyclopedias, Looseleaf services, Government documents, such as Parliamentary Debates and Theses. It also covers Internet Materials.

See the tab on the left for an example of an AGLC3 Bibliography.


This guide is a summary dealing with the most highly used sources by law students. The complete version of AGLC3  should be referred to by law students where they are unsure of the correct citation of a source.