< [Prev] [Home] [Table of Contents] [Subject Index] [Next] >


This is designed as a beginning point from which individual institutions may require students to depart. We have left a blank page after this appendix for students to write in additional local requirements. It may especially need alteration for students writing legal opinions as opposed to research essays, as it is particularly designed to deal with research papers, dissertations and theses.

This guide is not intended to be a guide to correct grammar. Many excellent grammar texts exist, such as Jeremy Butterfield (ed) Fowler’s Dictionary of Modern English Usage (4th ed, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2015). Of particular note are the rules pertaining to the use of apostrophes, specifically plural and group possessives. Recourse should be made to a grammar text to remedy any uncertainty.


Victoria University Wellington has a Microsoft Word Style Guide template available on their website.


Times New Roman font (or its equivalent) should be used.

The following font sizes should be used:

Spacing between lines should be 1.5.


All text should be justified, unless doing so would distort the text.

The default margins on most word processors will be acceptable, but wider margins may be required for a specific piece of work.


I Major Headings

Major headings are indicated by roman numerals, are italicised, and should be in 14 point font. The first letter of each word, other than prepositions and articles, should be in capitals.

A Minor Headings within Major Headings

Minor headings are indicated by an upper case letter, are italicised, and should be in 12 point font. The first letter of each word, other than prepositions and articles, should be in capitals.

1 Sub-headings within minor headings

Sub-headings are indicated by arabic numerals and are italicised. Only the initial letter of the first word should be in capitals. Font should be in 12 point.

(a) Paragraph headings

Paragraph headings are indented and indicated by a lower case letter in round brackets. Only the initial letter of the first word should be in capitals. Font should be in 12 point.

(i) Sub-paragraph headings

The same as paragraph headings, but using small roman numerals.

The use of headings is largely a discretionary matter, though paragraph and sub-paragraph headings should be used sparingly.

Where a case name, or other phrase that is required to be italicised, is included in a heading that is also required to be italicised, that phrase is not italicised.


Many papers require a bibliography to be included with written work.

Bibliographies perform a different function to footnotes. Footnotes are used to demonstrate authority for a particular statement or to acknowledge the source of a particular idea. A bibliography notes all the sources used in the preparation of a piece, whether they are cited in the footnotes or not. When listing sources in a bibliography, follow the normal style rules except that any pinpoint references included in the footnotes are not included in the bibliography.

Sources listed in a bibliography should be grouped according to type. While the categorisation used will be different depending on the subject area of the piece, generally primary materials should be listed first (for example, cases and legislation), followed by secondary materials (for example, books and chapters in books, journal articles and reports).

By way of example, the sections in a bibliography might be ordered as follows:

Cases should be divided by jurisdiction. New Zealand cases should be listed first, followed by cases from other jurisdictions alphabetically ordered. Within each jurisdiction the names of cases should be listed alphabetically. Where cases have the same name, order them chronologically (starting with the oldest).

Legislation should be listed in the same way as cases with New Zealand legislation listed first, followed by legislation from other jurisdictions alphabetically ordered. Within each jurisdiction, legislation should be ordered as follows: statutes; subordinate legislation; and Bills. Within each category, list the legislation alphabetically. Do not include country identifiers. For federal systems, it is generally not necessary to list each jurisdiction separately; it is enough to include jurisdiction identifiers.

Other sources should be listed alphabetically by the last name of the author or, where the author is an institution, by the institution’s name (excluding “the”). Where there is no author, order according to the first word of the title. In multi-author works, all author names should be given, but the work should be listed in accordance with the last name of the first-named author. If citing several works by the same author, list the author’s works in chronological order and then, for those works within the same year, alphabetically according to the first word of the title.

By way of illustration, the following is a short sample bibliography.

A Cases

1 New Zealand

Bank of New Zealand v Board of Management of the Bank of New Zealand Officers’ Provident Association [2003] UKPC 58, [2004] 1 NZLR 577.

Craddock v Crowhen HC Christchurch M425/92, 10 February 1995.

Erceg v Erceg [2016] NZCA 7, [2016] 2 NZLR 622.

Erceg v Erceg [2017] NZSC 28, [2017] 1 NZLR 320.

2 Australia

Hartigan Nominees Pty Ltd v Rydge (1992) 29 NSWLR 405 (CA).

3 England and Wales

Cowan v Scargill [1985] Ch 270 (Ch).

Westdeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale v Islington London Borough Council [1996] AC 669 (HL).

4 Scotland

Dundee General Hospitals Board of Management v Walker [1952] 1 All ER 896 (HL).

B Legislation

1 New Zealand

Crimes Act 1961.

Summary Offences Act 1975.

Criminal Justice Regulations 1985.

Sentencing (Aggravating Factors) Amendment Bill 2010 (221-1).

2 Australia

Crimes Act 1990 (NSW).

Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).

Juries Act 1967 (ACT).

Juries Regulations 2011 (Vic).

3 Scotland

Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2003.

Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2011.

4 United Kingdom

Crime and Security Act 2010.

Serious Crime Act 2007.

C Books and Chapters in Books

Andrew Butler and Petra Butler The New Zealand Bill of Rights Act: A Commentary (2nd ed, LexisNexis, Wellington, 2015).

Robert Chambers “Current Sources of Law: A Commentary” in Rick Bigwood (ed) Legal Method in New Zealand (Butterworths, Wellington, 2001).

Jeremy Finn, Stephen Todd and Matthew Barber Burrows, Finn and Todd on the Law of Contract in New Zealand (6th ed, LexisNexis, Wellington, 2018).

Mary Harris and David Wilson (eds) McGee Parliamentary Practice in New Zealand (4th ed, Oratia Books, Auckland, 2017).

D Journal Articles

John C Reitz “Political Economy as a Major Architectural Principle of Public Law” (2001) 75 Tul L Rev 1121.

Paul Rishworth “Common Law Rights and Navigation Lights: Judicial Review and the New Zealand Bill of Rights” (2004) 15 PLR 103.

Kenneth Roberts-Wray “Human Rights in the Commonwealth” (1968) 17 ICLQ 908.


< [Prev] [Home] [Table of Contents] [Subject Index] [Next] >