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NWU Law House Style Referencing Guide

Based on the NWU Faculty of Law House Style.

List of abbreviations

List of abbreviations1

AHRLJ African Human Rights Law Journal
DEA  Department of Environmental Affairs
NEMA  National Environmental Management Act 108 of 1998
SAHRC South African Human Rights Commission


1Take note that journal titles, case law as well as short titles of legislation should not be italicised for purposes of the List of Abbreviations.

Warning against plagiarism

NWU Faculty of Law’s golden rules for the avoidance of plagiarism:

The Faculty of Law defines plagiarism as:

Intentionally, knowingly or recklessly representing the words or ideas of another as one’s own in any academic exercise, including, without limitation, the intentional, knowing, or reckless failure to give attribution when making a direct quotation or when paraphrasing or borrowing facts or information.

(a) Always acknowledge the direct use of someone else’s words

  • You have to fully cite the source of any direct quotation and identify the quotation by using either quotation marks or by blocking the text (consult the Faculty’s reference guide to determine when to use quotation marks and when to block the text). Thus, when you quote or copy words directly from the source, you must identify the text as a quotation and provide a citation.
  • It must be apparent to the reader which text is your own original words and where you have drawn on someone else’s language.
  • Failure to give attribution when making direct quotations and to identify the words as a quotation is plagiarism.
  • The only instance where you do not need to identify a quotation as such is where you quote from legislation. However, you still need to fully cite the source. For example: In terms of section 9(1) of the Constitution everyone is equal before the law ...

(b) Always acknowledge words you paraphrase from any source

  • It is permissible to paraphrase only when you have given attribution to the source.
  • Even if you have changed a few words or changed the word order of the sentence, you must give proper citation.
  • If you are closely following the structure of an author’s argument, without proper citation and acknowledgment, it is considered to be plagiarism.
  • Cite (reference) any sources "from which language, facts or ideas have been paraphrased..."

(c) Always acknowledge text you summarize from any source

  • It is permissible to summarise only when you have given attribution to the source.
  • Even if you have summarized text from a source, you must give proper citation.
  • Cite (reference) any sources "from which language, facts or ideas have been paraphrased or summarized..."

(d) Always cite the source of any idea which is not your original thought

• If you express the same idea as the source you are using, you need to cite the source fully.
• Even if you use your own words to convey the ideas of another, you will be guilty of plagiarism if you do not cite or reference the original source.

Please refer to the Policy on Plagiarism and other forms of Academic Dishonesty and Misconduct of June 2011.

For the NWU link for plagiarism, go to: