Style guide for contributors

The style used in Bar Association publications is based upon the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th Edition. Reference is also made to the current edition of The Australian concise Oxford dictionary. Contributors are requested to study these sources, together with the following guidelines, before submitting material for publication. It may also be useful to study articles already published in Bar News.

The Bar Association reserves the right to alter grammatical construction, punctuation and citations to conform with the house style and accepted grammatical rules of construction.

Articles should be submitted via email or floppy disk, preferably as Word documents. Contributors using Apple computers are requested to save documents in rich text format (RTF).

General rules*
Remember to never split an infinitive.
Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are (usually) unnecessary.
Use the apostrophe in it's proper place and omit it when its not needed.
* Source:Taggart, Caroline and Wines, JA, My Grammar and I (or should that be 'Me'?): Old School Ways to Sharpen your English (London, Michael O'Mara Books Limited, 2008).
Acts of parliament
Do not underline their title. Do not put 'as amended' after the title.

The initial reference to an Act should include the year of assent and the jurisdiction. The title and the year of assent should be italicised and in title case (i.e. the first letter of a word is upper case).

Subsequent references to an act may be abbreviated and in roman type.

The word 'Act' should always have an upper case 'A'.


In 1996, the West Australian Parliament introduced mandatory sentencing laws through amendments to the Criminal Code 1913 (WA). In 1997, the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly enacted amendments to the Sentencing Act 1995 (NT) and Juvenile Justice Act 1993 (NT).

The Juvenile Justice Act

The Act will commence on 30 June 2005.

Bills, statutory rules & regulations should be italicised.   Defence Legislation Amendment (Aid to Civil Authorities) Bill 2000 (Cth)

New South Wales Barristers Rules
Sections of Acts should be cited as follows:   s 32 not s.32
Subsections should be cited as follows:
Clauses / sub-clauses should be as follows:   cl / sub-cl
Books, journals and other material
Titles of journals and monographs are italicised.
The Australian Concise Oxford Dictionary
Law Society Journal
Speeches and the titles of articles are enclosed in single quotes.   'Ethics and the adversarial system', a speech delivered by the Hon Daryl Williams AM QC MP
International treaties should be in roman type (i.e. not italicised)

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
When citing cases, party names should be in italics. Do not underline them.

Giannarelli v Wraith

Single quotation marks are used in Bar Association publications. Double quotation marks are used only for quotations within quotations.

As Churchill said of his war cabinet: 'All I wanted was compliance with my wishes after reasonable discussion'.

'Dr Johnson's view that patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel must have been formed without forseeing the possibility inherent in the words "education reform".'

Block quotations (more than 30 words) should be in roman type, not italics. Quotation marks are not used for block quotes. The text should be 1 point smaller and indented 1cm on the left.  

After a detailed enumeration of numerous of the human rights standards referred to above, the reference paper concluded:

This matter is a very important one from the human rights perspective and all States should give the principles involved the closest attention in both legislation and practice. In those cases where the meaning of the international standards is not clear, a request should be considered to the appropriate body for clarification and/or technical assistance. The OHCHR and UNICEF stand ready to provide whatever assistance is possible in light of their mandates regarding the rights and welfare of children.

The Bar Association prefers the parsimonious use of capitals. Proper names are capitalised.Many proper names combine a given name with a generic (or descriptive) term (e.g. President Bush). After the first mention, an official name is often replaced by the generic term alone, which (no longer strictly a proper name) may safely be lowercased.

For example: They asked to speak with President Bush, but the president was unavailable that day.

In the full official names of organisations and other bodies such as assemblies and conferences, initial capitals are used.

However, when names of this kind are abbreviated to just the generic element for subsequent references, leave them uncapitalised.

The media gathered early outside the High Court, but the court did not hand down its decision until midday.

The University of Sydney...the university

The New South Wales Parliament...the debate in parliament

The courts have not adopted technology as widely as they should have.

Retired judges were invited to the conference.


Use barristers not Barristers

readers & tutors not Readers & Tutors

When the abbreviation of an organisation retains some specific elements, keep the capitals


The New South Wales Bar Association ...the Bar Association...the association

The High Court of Australia...the High Court...the court

The New South Wales Bar ... the bar

The Supreme Court Bench ... the bench

Lower case should be used for plurals and nouns. Proper nouns have capital letters.

The audience included two former chief justices.
The judges filed into church for the mass.
Each year the chief justice presents senior counsel certificates.

When Gough Whitlam became prime minister...
When Bob Ellicott was solicitor-general...

President George Bush addressed the nation...the president said...

An medal was awarded to Sergeant York...the sergeant said...

Do not contribute articles with titles in upper case.
International perspectives on mandatory sentencing
Minimise the use of stops.

The abbreviation for senior counsel is SC not S.C.

The abbreviation for Queen's counsel is QC

The Order of Australia and other titles and initialisms do not require stops. For example: AM AC MP or MLC

Judicial officers are referred to as the Hon Justice Smith, not The Hon. Justice Smith
Other points to note 
Spelling   Judgments not judgements
    Numbers one through nine should be spelt out. Numerals should be used from 10 and above.
Practice, practising  

The Australian Concise Oxford Dictionary can be used as a guide.

When referring to an established method of legal procedure, practice is used - e.g. Supreme Court practice and procedure

Practice is also used to refer to the professional business of a barrister - e.g. She has a practice in Parramatta

When referring to someone currently engaged in a profession, they are said to be a practising barrister, or that they hold a practising certificate.

Those wishing to practise as a barrister must have PII.

Mary is practising as a barrister.

Dates   21 March 2001
not 21st March not March 21st
Use endnotes instead of footnotes.   For an example of end note style, see the attached copy of notes from a recent article in Bar News.