Referencing

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When do I need to use referencing?

Every time you include another person’s words or ideas in your own work, you must include a reference. If you fail to cite the source of the information you are using, then you have plagiarised it. Plagiarism is a form of academic misconduct.

For example, imagine you are writing an essay about the Australian criminal justice system. During your research, you find this information on page 68 of the book Modern Criminal Law of Australia by Jeremy Gans:

Prosecuting, like policing, can theoretically be done by anyone. All Australian jurisdictions generally allow private prosecutions, where a prosecution is brought in that person’s name rather than that of the Crown or a government prosecuting agency.

You then decide to use this text in your essay in the following way:

It is not just employees of the Office of Public Prosecutions (OPP) who can prosecute people. Prosecuting, like policing, can theoretically be done by anyone. All Australian jurisdictions generally allow private prosecutions, where a prosecution is brought in that person’s name rather than that of the Crown or a government prosecuting agency. This means that anyone on the street, even a law student, can potentially launch proceedings against someone.

Because you have not cited the text you have taken word-for-word from Modern Criminal Law of Australia, you have copied it. Copying is plagiarism. It is still plagiarism even though you have written some original text (the first and last sentences) around the copied text.

To avoid plagiarism, you must always cite the source of the text or idea you’ve used in your work. Because you are quoting directly from the book, this means using quotation marks (AGLC r 1.5) and a footnote (AGLC r 1.1). You must also include the book in your bibliography (AGLC r 1.16).

With proper citation, the paragraph from your essay now looks like this:

It is not just employees of the Office of Public Prosecutions (OPP) who can prosecute people. ‘Prosecuting, like policing, can theoretically be done by anyone. All Australian jurisdictions generally allow private prosecutions, where a prosecution is brought in that person’s name rather than that of the Crown or a government prosecuting agency.’8 This means that anyone on the street, even a law student, can potentially launch proceedings against someone.

8 Jeremy Gans, Modern Criminal Law of Australia (Cambridge University Press, 2nd ed, 2017) 68.

Now try it yourself!

Read the quotes from different sources below, then drag the appropriate citation into the footnotes of the student essay.

  • G E Dal Pont, Lawyers’ Professional Responsibility (Lawbook Co., 6th ed, 2017) 39: ‘Were the profession to admit persons who have previously shown disrespect for the law, or have some other matter adverse to their trustworthiness or integrity, a member of the public may lack confidence in the profession as a whole’.
  • Linda Haller and Francesca Bartlett, ‘Views from Inside: A Comparison of Admission Process in New South Wales and Victoria Before and After the Uniform Law‘ (2016) 42 Monash University Law Review 114: ‘A court or admitting authority has to be satisfied that the applicant is “a fit and proper person to be admitted”. This is often called the “character test” because applicants have the onus of proof of establishing their “intrinsic character” or moral self-awareness sufficient to practise law’.
  • Frugtniet v Board of Examiners [2002] VSC 140 (1 May 2002) [14]: ‘It can be seen that the onus rested upon an applicant for admission to disclose any matters which were relevant to the question of his reputation and character and whether he was a fit and proper person to be admitted to practice as a barrister, solicitor and officer of the court. Clearly the obligation was not confined to convictions for criminal offences.’

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