Hong Kong Law Journal Style Guide


Quotation Marks

Double quotation marks, but single quotation marks for quotes inside quotes.


If the quotation covers more than fifty words, it should be indented on both sides (with quotation marks).

All commas and full stops should not always be inside the quotation marks. If it is one long quote, then this is usually correct, but if the quote is only one part of the sentence, it may be more appropriate to put the punctuation outside. We will judge each case individually.

Three ellipses within quotation marks to show omissions in the middle of a quote.

No full stop after ellipses.

Spaces between the preceding and following words around the ellipses.

If emphasis is added by the author (for example by italicising some words), a footnote should be included to this effect.


Only one space after a full stop and before a capital letter.

Space before and after the back slash (/) when it is used to separate text, but not numbers, ie; and / or BUT 1999/1998.


‘Government’ (uc) only to be used when referring to a particular body of persons; but the ‘government’ (lc) in general senses.

‘State’ (uc) when it means ‘an organised political community under one government’ (the United States of America, the State of Israel); also when it is a constituent unit of a federal nation (the State of Virginia); also when the word is used attributively in this sense (State documents, a State visit), and when it means ‘civil government’ (Church and State). In all other cases use ‘state’ (lc).

‘E-mail’ or ‘e-mail’ not ‘E-Mail’

“court” lc and “ordinance” lc unless referring to specific courts or ordinances.

Federal Court (uc)

Commonwealth Court (uc)

“Rule” when referring to a specific set of rules but “rule” when referring to an individual rule within the set.

Model Law

ministers but Minister of Defence

Constitution (when specific)

The Mainland, but mainland China


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Spell out one to nine, but use figures thereafter (10, 36, etc).


Always in numerals: 4oz, 6ft 3in, etc.

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Order of Numbering




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Lists Within the Text

No capitals after colons / semi colons (unless more than one sentence after the number).





text; and


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Contents List

This will only include title heads and names of authors.

Dates and Times

‘1 August 2000’ not ‘1st August, 1999’ or any other variation.

‘21st century’

12 am (no) not 12AM or 12am

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Generally no full stop is needed where the last letter of the abbreviation is the same as the last letter of the unabbreviated word, eg Mr, Dr, etc.

Titles and names should be spelt out in full and followed by the abbreviation in brackets the first time they are mentioned in the text. The abbreviation can then be used, eg the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). The HKSAR …

All acronyms written without full stop:



Use HKLJ and abbreviations for other well known materials (journals and law reports). Otherwise, use the full names.

Art 3 (no full stop, space) — Article in text
Art 16(3) (no space between numbers / brackets)
Cap 23 (no full stop, space) — Cap XX in text
C 56 (no full stop, space) –– For volume of the laws of a Commonwealth Parliament.
Cf (no full stop, space, no italics) For ‘compare’ in footnotes only
Ch 4 (no full stop, space) –– For chapter in a book
edn (no full stop, space)
ed / eds (no full stop, space)
eg (no full stops, comma before, none after)
etc (no full stop)
ie (no full stops, no italics)
Ibid. (full stop, space, italics)
Ltd (no full stop)
No 2 (no full stop, space)
n 4 (no full stop, space), but “Note” at the beginning of a footnote.
nn 5 (no full stop, space)
Ord 13 (capital, no full stop, space – for Order of court rules)
p 37 (no full stop, space)
p or pp (no full stop, no capitals, space)
para 2 (no full stop, space) – paragraph in text
r 14 (no full stop, space – for rule)
reg 1 (no full stop, space)
s 12 (no full stop, space), but “Section” at the beginning of a footnote
v (no full stop)
Vol (Cap, no full stop)
viz. (full stop, itals, but prefer ‘namely’)

Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, June, July, Aug, Sept, Oct, Nov, Dec.

Author’s initials need full stops and spaces between each initial, eg: A. J. Smith.

Judges’ abbreviated titles do not need full stops, eg: Mason CJ

For abbreviations such as US, UK, HK, etc, acronyms should be used when they are sued as adjectives, but not as a nouns.

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Addresses, and Fax and Phone Numbers

No commas in addresses when written on separate lines.

‘Tel:’ not ‘Tel.:’, likewise ‘Fax:’ not ‘Fax.:’.

E-mail Addresses and Web Sites

E-mail and web site addresses should not be underlined, eg ‘mariesi@netvigator.com’

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‘per cent’ in text, but ‘%’ in tables.

‘US$25’ not ‘US$ 25’; same with all other currencies except RMB which has a space between the numbers and the letters, eg RMB 25.


British English

‘-ise’, but ‘-ize’ in legislation if that is how the original is spelled.

Acknowledgement (‘e’)

Judgment (when applied to a law judgment)

‘Romania’ not ‘Rumania’.

Where there are discrepancies, Oxford English should be followed.

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Hyphenated Words

Hyphens should be used to avoid ambiguity, eg to distinguish reform from re-form. They should also be used when the prefix ends in the same vowel as that of the word, eg co-operate.

A list of hyphened and unhyphenated words must be made and attached to this guide.

Unhyphenated Words

ad hoc


case law

common sense

web site

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Cases are italicised with no full stop after ‘v’.

Write out ‘and Others’ and ‘and Another’ rather than ‘& Ors’ and ‘& Anor’ or any other variation.


Cases in italics, eg; text v text [1998] 2 ITLJ 545 at 553C

Ordinances NOT in italics.

For emphasis.

For pin-yin and other foreign language transliterations.

For the names of journals and books.

Foreign phrases as per the Oxford Dictionary.

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Headers and Indentation

All headings should be marked Title, A, B, or C head.

[Title head]


[A head]

Constitutional Interpretation in Common Law Jurisdictions

[B head]

The Legitimacy of Judicial Review

[C head]

The historical approach to interpretation

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Cross-references should be written in bold. They will be referenced at a later stage.


Footnotes should be numbered consecutively in Arabic numerals in superscript after any punctuation mark and without any surrounding bracket or full stop.

No brackets or full stops after the reference number.

Symbols may be used in footnotes, but text should be written out in full.

Full stop at the end of each footnote, begin with a capital letter.

Each footnote should begin with a capital letter.

See’ in italics.

‘Order’, ‘rule’, ‘Schedule’, ‘unreported’ should be written as “O”, “r” , “Sch” and “unrep.” in the footnotes.

Generally speaking, rather than using parentheses, items should be defined in footnotes, not the text.

Check standard references to books, journals, etc (see attached).

In text, the footnote mark should come after the punctuation mark.

Cross-references: “see n 21 above”; “Jones (n 37 above), p 25”.

Use “above” and “below”, not “supra” or “ante” and “infra” or “post”.

Do not use “op cit,” “loc cit,” or other such abbreviations, other than “ibid” (referring to the work cited immediately above)

If a cite is to be used more than once, use a shortened form which includes the author’s last name or a shortened form of the case name, ie

2 Stan Smith, “The Ins and Outs of My Life in Tennis,” (1988) 48 Hermeneutics Quarterly 38, 58.
10 See Smith, “Ins and Outs (n 2 above)” .

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‘Hereinafter’ not ‘hereafter’.

‘United Kingdom’ not ‘Britain’.


Other Style Notes


Authors must prepare an abstract of the article for inclusion before the full text of the article. Abstracts should convey a summary of the theme and main points of the article, and should run to 100 to 150 words.

All of the text in abstracts (including case names, etc) should appear in italics.

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1. Use of page references:
  A. Journals:
    (i) When setting out a cite for the first time in Journals, indicate page number or numbers without any introductory abbreviation:

Stan Smith, “The Ins and Outs of My Life in Tennis,” (1988) 48 Hermeneutics Quarterly 38, 58.
    (ii) When setting out a repeat cite, use the following form:

Smith, “Ins and Outs” (n 2 above), p 27.


See n 2 above, p 27.
  B. Books:
    (i) When setting out a cite for the first time in books, indicate page number or numbers with an introductory abbreviation:

Devin P. Lane, Sovereignty and the Status Quo (Boulder, San Francisco, and Oxford: Westview Press, 1990), p 43.
    (ii) When setting out a repeat cite, use the following form:

Lane (see n 2 above), p 27.


See n 2 above, p 27.
  C. Where confusion might exist:

Law Reform Commission of Hong Kong, Report on the Winding up Provisions of the Companies Ordinance (Hong Kong: Printing Department, July 1999), para 9.3, p 35.
2. Hong Kong legislation:
  A. When referring to an ordinance as originally passed, the appropriate reference is, for example, No 1 of 1999. This should be in round brackets if it follows the short tile (No 1 of 1999).
  B. Subsidiary legislation:

The Rules of Bankruptcy (sub leg__, Cap 6).
  C. Where confusion may exist (eg in comparative law articles):

(Cap 221, Laws of Hong Kong)
3. UK legislation:
  A. General form: Hong Kong Act 1985, ss 3, 4.
  B. No comma between Act and the date.
  C. It is helpful to give the regnal year or chapter number.
4. Cases:
  A. Case names should be in italics.
  B. Use the full names of the parties as they appear in the case.
  C. Law reports should be cited in the correct manner, which is usually given in the preliminary pages of each volume. Pay particular attention to the brackets: square and round brackets are not interchangeable. Round brackets are used where the date is not part of the actual reference, eg, where there is a volume number; whereas, square brackets are part of the reference. For example:
    (i) Where the volumes are distinguishable by number and the year is added for extra information: Wilson (1979) 49 Cr App R 83; Wilson (n 1 above), p 84.
    (ii) Where the citation indicates the first of several volumes for the year: Air Canada v The Queen in Right of British Columbia [1986] 1 WWR 342; Air Canada (n 2 above), p 343
  D. Data that must be included:
    (i) For HKC and HKLR and recognisable overseas reporters, there is no need to include the date or the name of the court: eg, Securities and Futures Commission v Mandarin Resources Corp Ltd [1997] 1 HKC 214;
    (ii) For unreported cases or cases on-line, include the case number, date and court: eg, Securities and Futures Commission v Mandarin Resources Corp Ltd, unrep., Companies Winding-up No 348 of 1996 (Court of First Instance, 19 November 1999), at 6.
5. Secondary materials:
  A. Journals:
    Anthony R. Dicks, “The Position of Hong Kong and Macao in Recent Chinese Legislation” (1974) 4 HKLJ 151.
    Dick Wilson, “New Thoughts on the Future of Hong Kong” (1977) 8 Pacific Community 588.
  B. Books:
    Kevin P. Lane, Sovereignty and the Status Quo (Boulder, San Francisco, and Oxford: Westview Press, 1990), p 43.
    Norman Miners (ed), The Government and the Politics of Hong Kong, Vol 1 (Hong Kong: Oxford University Press, 5th edn, 1991), p 72.
  C. Newspaper Articles:
    “Blocks in Scandal May Come Down”, South China Morning Post, 22 January 2000, p 1.
  D. Internet sites:
    Available at http://www.smlawpub.com.hk (visited 23 Feb 2002).
  * The name of the author of a book or article cited should on the first occasion be given in full exactly as the author gives it. The title of a book is to be in italics (if need be, to be indicated by underlining), with place of publication, publisher, edition (other than first), and year of publication, followed by page number. Thus: Kevin P. Lane, Sovereignty and the Status Quo (Boulder, San Francisco, and Oxford: Westview Press, 1990), p 43; Norman Miners, The Government and Politics of Hong Kong, (Hong Kong: Oxford University Press, 1991), 5th edn, p 72.
  * The title of an article is to be in roman type surrounded by double quotation marks. The name of the journal is to be in italic type, as commonly abbreviated (or spelt out in full if likely to be unfamiliar to HKLJ readers), and the year and volume number (if any) are to be provided. Thus: A.R. Dicks, “The Position of Hong Kong and Macao in Recent Chinese Legislation”, (1974) 4 HKLJ 151, 155–6; Dick Wilson, “New Thoughts on the Future of Hong Kong”, (1977) 8 Pacific Community 588, 597.

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Citation of Chinese Sources

Romanization and Chinese characters
Pinyin is used without tone/diacritical marks, except the following which should use the Wade-Giles system: names such as Chiang Kai-Shek, Sun Yat-sen, Taipei and Kuomintang; names of individuals (e.g. individuals in Hong Kong or the West) who have English names or Chinese names romanized by a system other than pinyin. If possible, Chinese characters should be provided (in brackets) for all Chinese terms which appear in pinyin, especially in contexts in which readers would not find it easy to guess what are the Chinese characters corresponding to the pinyin.


Books in Chinese:
Author, Chinese title of book (in pinyin) (Translation of Title (in English)) (Place of Publication: Publisher of Book in Chinese (in pinyin), date), pp. ?.

Articles in Chinese:
(Edited volumes) Author of article, “Title of article (in English translation),” in Author (ed.), Title of book (in pinyin) (Translation of title of book (in English)) (Place of Publication: Publisher (in pinyin), date), pp. ?.
(Journals) Author of article, “Title of article (in English translation),” Journal Title (in pinyin) (Translation of journal title (in English)), Vol. ?, No. ? (year), pp. ?.

Subsequent citations:
Use ibid. to refer only to the immediately preceding reference or part of it. For other subsequent citations:

Books in Chinese:
Full name of author (note * above), pp. ?.

Articles in Chinese:
Full name of author (note * above), pp. ?.

* : Footnote no. of footnote where the work was first cited



Chen Hongyi, Falixue de shijie (The World of Jurisprudence) (Beijing: Zhongguo zhengfa daxue chubanshe, 2003)

Articles (Edited Volume):

Liu Ning, “Discussions on the Principle of ‘Common Heritage of Mankind’ in the Moon and its Natural Resources,” in Ling Yan (ed.), Guoji kongjianfa wenti xinlun (Discussions on the Problems in International Outer Space Law) (Beijing: Renmin fayuan chubanshe, 2006), pp. 190-215

Journal Articles:

Wan Exiang, “Several Issues in the Implementation of the New York Convention,” Guoji jingjifa xuekan (Journal of International Economic Law), Vol. 16, No. 1 (2009), pp. 1-6

Subsequent Citations:


Chen Hongyi (note * above), pp. ?.


Wan Exiang (note * above), pp. ?.

* : Footnote no. of footnote where the work was first cited

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