Bar News style

Names, titles and offices

A common noun is the informal name of one item in a class or group. It is not capitalised unless it begins a sentence or appears in a title.

barrister not Barrister
A proper noun is a person's name or the official name of a place or thing. It is always capitalised. However, in many  Bar News articles proper names combine a given name with a generic (or descriptive) term.Attorney General John Smith
Civil and professional titles are capitalised when they immediately precede a personal name. When an official name is replaced by the generic term alone (and is no longer strictly a proper name) it should be lower cased.Chief Justice Smith; the chief justice
In the full official names of organisations and other bodies, such as assemblies and conferences, initial capitals are used. When names of this kind are abbreviated to just the generic element for subsequent references, they can be uncapitalised without any loss of clarity or respect.

The University of Sydney; the university
The New South Wales Parliament; the parliament

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

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

The High Court of Australia; the High Court; the court

Lower case should be used for plurals and nouns.

The audience included two former chief justices.

The judges filed into court.

Do not contribute articles with titles in upper case

International perspectives on mandatory sentencing 



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). Do not underline their title. Do not put 'as amended' after the title.

In 1997, the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly enacted amendments to the Sentencing Act 1995 (NT) and Juvenile Justice Act 1993 (NT).

Subsequent references to an act may be abbreviated and in roman type.The Juvenile Justice Act
The word 'Act' should always have an upper case 'A'.The Act will commence on 30 June 2005.
BillsDefence Legislation Amendment (Aid to Civil Authorities) Bill 2000 (Cth)

Statutory rules & regulations should be italicised. 

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 materials

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. 

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

Double quotation marks are used only for quotations within quotations.

'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.

Other rules


Articles should be submitted via email, preferably as Word documents.

Use endnotes instead of footnotes.

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

SpellingJudgments not judgements
 Numbers one through nine should be spelt out. Numerals should be used from 10 and above.

21 March 2001

not 21st March not March 21st


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).