Skip to Main Content

NWU Law House Style Referencing Guide

Based on the NWU Faculty of Law House Style.



(a) Margins: left (2,5 cm), top (2,5 cm), right (2,5 cm), bottom (2,5 cm), footer (2 cm). The paper size is A4.

(b) Use font type Tahoma 12pt (main text and bibliography); Tahoma 10pt (footnotes); Tahoma 11pt (indented quotations, longer than one line).

(c) Justify text with 1.5 line spacing for the main text and bibliography. Single spacing for footnotes and quotations longer than one typed line.

(d) All headings must be placed against the left margin. See Table 1 (under Headings and numbering of headings) for specifications regarding the indentation between headings and heading numbers for the various headings.

(e) Page numbers are placed at the bottom of the page, centred and in the same font and size as the text (in other words Tahoma, 12pt).

(f) Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, etcetera) are used for all page numbers of the actual text as well as the bibliography.

(g) Do not leave lines open before and after paragraphs. Paragraph settings must, however, be set to make provision for a 12pt space after paragraphs. In a Word document click on the "Paragraph" tab; at "Spacing" choose "12pt" at the "After" option.

(h) The first line of a paragraph should not be indented.

(i) Footnotes must be justified at the bottom of each page of the text. References to sources are not placed in the main text but in the footnote (for example: Smith, 2005:5).

(j) Footnotes margin: Footnote text must start 0,75 cm from the left margin – therefore a hanging indent of 0,75 cm is used. No lines should be left open between footnotes.

(k) In the main text, the footnote marker should always be inserted after the punctuation mark like a full stop or comma. For example: Cyber law is a fast growing subject field.3

(l) Cross-reference in footnotes to paragraph numbers in the text by using "above" or "below", for example: "See para 1.3 above." Ibid, supra, infra and op cit should not be used in the footnotes.

(m) In a footnote, a semi-colon is used to separate sources from each other, for example: Cornelius Principles 33; Van der Berg Interpretation of Statutes in South Africa 35.

(n) When referring to two or more pages from the same source in a footnote, only a comma is used, for example: Cornelius Principles 33, 67.

(o) Place a full stop after each footnote irrespective of the nature of the source.

(p) References to page numbers must always be provided in the following format: 222-224 and not 222-4 or 222-24. Do not use "p", "pp" or "page" – the numbers itself indicate the page numbers concerned. 

(q) Tables and graphics must have sequential numbers and suitable headings at the head of the table/graphic, for example: Table 1 (under Headings and numbering of headings.)


3 Kruger Cyber Law in South Africa 12.

Headings and numbering of headings

(a) Main heading: bold

(b) Secondary headings: bold and italics

(c) Tertiary headings: italics

(d) Subsequent headings: normal font

(e) Note the use of full stops. No punctuation marks or full stops after the last number of a heading number.

Table 1

Function Numbering Description Example
Main heading 1 Bold, Indentation hanging 0,76 cm 1        Constitutional provisions
Secondary heading 1.1 Bold, Italics, Indentation hanging 1,02 cm 1.1      Freedom Charter
Tertiary heading 1.1.1 Italics, Indentation hanging 1,27 cm 1.1.1    Right to life
Any subsequent headings Normal, Indentation hanging 1,52 cm Vertical application



(a) Quotations longer than one typed line are indented (0,75 cm on both sides) and are typed in size 11pt and single spaced lines, and justified. Quotation marks are not used (except in the case of point (d) below).


Against this background, "parliament" is defined as:

The group of people responsible for making and changing laws and consisting of structures such as the House of Commons, the House of Lords and the King or the Queen (in the United Kingdom context).4

According to this definition a parliament is not a building but a group of people with the power to make laws.

(b) A direct quotation from another source which is not longer that one typed line, must be quoted in the same sentence, for example: Labour law is often viewed as "one of the most complex fields of the law".5

(c) "Straight quotes" are used (as opposed to “smart quotes”).

(d) Single quotation marks (′...′) are used for a quotation within a quotation.


"The most appropriate form of biodiversity regulation is arguably by means of ′economic instruments′".6

(e) Punctuation that is not part of the quoted sentence should be placed outside the quotation marks, for example: He said that John could be "an angry man". If it is part of the quoted sentence, the punctuation should be placed inside the quotation mark, for example: He said: "John is an angry man." 

(f) Punctuation marks (for example commas and quotation marks) used in the original sentence must also be placed within the quotation marks.

(g) The reference to the source of the quoted text must be provided in a footnote.

(h) Should the surname of the quoted author appear in the main text, the footnote reference must appear directly after his/her surname. Do not cite the first names of authors.


Feris7 is of the opinion that there may not be enough resources to adequately address environmental justice issues.


4 Sebogodi Government Systems 100.
5 Swanepoel Labour Law 2.
6 Paterson Biodiversity Protection 22.
7 Feris Environmental Justice 3.