Skip to Main Content

Law and Legal Studies: Referencing

What is referencing?

Referencing is a practice of acknowledging other peoples works, ideas, sources used in a paper, assignment, report and conference papers in academic writing.

Why should I reference my assignment?


  1. To acknowledge the sources of information you have used just as authors of books and journal articles list the sources they have used
  2. It is academic courtesy to acknowledge the work of others – none of us know everything and we rely on the work of others
  3. Your lecturers/readers need to see from where you obtained your information 
  4. Your lecturers/readers need to see how widely you have read; whether you have used key sources and how up to date your information is
  5. Your lecturers/readers need to be able to verify the information you have used
  6. Plagiarism – using someone else’s ideas as if they were your own is unacceptable and a punishable offence.


What is a referencing style?

A referencing style is the preferred format for creating references to sources of information. Format includes the order of elements of a reference as well as punctuation. Unfortunately there is no universal style and every discipline and journal has its own preferred style.


Referencing style preferred by the UKZN Law School

The UKZN Law School follows the referencing style of the South African Law Journal (SALJ). Footnoting and a bibliography (list of works cited) are required for assignments. The library staff have produced simple guides to this style:


SALJ house style

Types of plagiarism

The types of plagiarism have been well documented. recently undertook a plagiarism survey and have presented their findings on types of plagiarism in the document: White paper: the plagiarism spectrum.


Rule book 2020. (latest)

(Click on the above link which takes you to the site for Student Disciplinary Services. The Rules handbook is a link at the bottom of the page).

Section 9 covers cheating and copying.


Plagiarism is not just about copying a classmate's assignment but also taking someone else's ideas and writings from books, journals and websites and pretending they are your own. In the academic environment it is essential to indicate where you got your information and ideas from - your lecturers want to see what you have read.


Turnitin is an internet based tool used to check and detect plagiarism in an essay or any kind of academic related document. Its a licensed based software which universities and schools obtain through subscription.

To use Turnitin you must first get a code from your supervisor/lecturer before you register as a student as you will not be able to complete registration without this code.

All information © 2018 University of KwaZulu-Natal. All rights reserved.