How to Write a Bibliography for a Law Essay (Practical Example)

How to Write a Bibliography for a Law Essay (Practical Example)

Below is a first-class law essay that was written by an undergraduate law student at one of UK's leading universities. We have included the full essay for the sake of completeness to illustrate how to write a bibliography in the context of a full legal essay.


As separate nation states began to form, the national boundaries of each state, with their own legal, social and political system, was at the apex of all conversation and recognition between states. However, with the rise of globalisation during the 20th century, through the increasing sophistication and advancement of technology globalisation has helped to connect normal people of the world in an unprecedented fashion. Globalisation in its literal sense is the process of transformation of local phenomena into global ones. It can be described as a process by which the people of the world are unified into a single society and function together. This process is a combination of economic, technological, sociocultural and political forces.[1]

Individuals are becoming more autonomous and forging their own identities, instead of an identity suggested by the state. Networking and exchange of information is not limited to wealthy elites or representatives of the wealthy states, but with the rise of the internet, exchanges between individuals take place every second; thus is not limited to individuals within the borders of a state, it is transnational and borderless.

Globalisation has both its benefits and detriments. It supporters claim that it increases economic prosperity as well as opportunity and development- but it has also had a negative impact on many societies in the world, and has deprived and excluded many others. With the advancement of technology and increasing awareness of human rights issues- we have seen the global realisation by individuals of their inherent capability to resist and quell the forces and effects of the dominant western neo-liberal hegemony- thus we are seeing a rise in the power and resistance of civil society[2]  movements.

Individual are going beyond typical laissez faire notions[3]  of free market economics, the type advocated by Raegan and Thatcher. However, with the collapse of state socialism and communism and with the rapid spread of globalisation, there is growing awareness[4] of issues such as global warming and human rights which are constantly propagated through the internet and other forms of media; thus the existence of a growing and strengthening global society cannot be denied. Yes, at first glance, power and wealth disparities are obvious- but what these movements show, is that whether they are human rights movements- campaigning for our basic universal rights as humans[5] or NGOs emphasising humanitarian issues and sustainable development or social movements fighting for the rights of subaltern peoples in poor countries; their growing power, influence and participation show the growing concern for others in the global society- not the society within state boundaries.

The concept of civil society is interesting and thought provoking, it is the ‘’the arena of uncoerced collective around shared interests, purposes and values’. Most of the civil society movements have humanitarian concerns and emphasise the rights of poor desperate individuals because[6], and they often campaign against the ‘disempowerment and social injustice brought about by unbridled global capitalism’[7]. Out of the global civil society movements[8], the Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs) seem have had the most publicity and recognition worldwide.

However, due to the autonomous legal sub systems that have arisen from the effect of globalisation, there is a visible distinction between the discourse of general Human rights principles and the way Trans national Corporations (TNC) govern themselves. Civil society discourse often emphasises our universal inviolable rights due to our existence as humans[9] whereas TNC policies, which could be argued as being a law unto themselves, attempt to standardise and implement ‘legal’ rules across the different countries of the world- despite obvious cultural, societal or religious differences.

In the past, Lex mercatoria[10] (law of merchants used in medieval Europe) showed the power and resistance of individual actors. Merchants seemed to have a qualified faith in self-regulation and were reluctant to surrender the efficiencies of merchant practice to state confinement. Nowadays large retailers and brand name merchandisers show the existence of power beyond state boundaries. These organisations have considerable power globally and the muscle of these huge transnational corporations is reflected in the power and policies of IMF, WTO, World Bank; they are at ‘the forefront of pushing neo-liberal agenda of reforms particularly in the third world countries’’[11]. Ong[12] argues that ‘that growth triangle workers are less subjects to the rules of their home country and more to the riles of companies’. These situations show that states are transferring their powers of jurisdiction to non state private actors and bodies; therefore, economic globalisation is allowing states to relinquish their own sovereignty in the interest of global capital- thus‘global capital is creating its own form of ‘global law without a state’’[13].This is power, and this is resistance and it certainly transcends the borders of the state

However, despite the great power and influence of organisations such as the IMF and WEF (world Economic Forum), civil society movements are working together to openly challenge and question the dominance of such organisations. Their joint efforts[14] have also gained considerable media attention and public support. The WSF is a rival gathering to the WEF meetings, the meetings are held in different parts of the world is proof that state boundaries are not relevant when individuals and groups want to voice their resistance to national or international law and policies. Although some argue that NGOs are taking the space of popular movements of the poor or that they are imperialist based on western cultural hegemony, what is certain is that NGOs and peoples movements constantly highlight the failures of international, economic, political and legal order- so if official authorities fail, ‘then authority derived from universal morals and humans rights principles can speak for the world’[15].

NGOs have become an important part of the international relations landscape, their influences ranges from local action to national and multi-lateral policy making. NGO and other civil society movements are entities which promote the conscious participation of masses by their character of active involvement and volunteerism[16]. The function of NGOs especially, has become ever more important over time; their publicising, monitoring, campaigning for (mostly) humanitarian causes, their efforts in creating a global network of human rights organisations, their specialist knowledge and information accumulation is proof of growing power. Inevitable, this power had to be acknowledged so nowadays we see the UN and many TNCs taking advice on their social policies from NGOs.

Social movements especially in the third world are important actors in subaltern law and are also an important part of civil society movements, ‘what distinguishes social movement from human rights is that they result from the actual struggles of the people, and not from an abstract a priori conception’[17]. Many Social movements argue that the ‘state itself is a source of exploitation and violence towards the subalterns…because it is the product of Eurocentric modernity’’[18]. Social movements criticise and actively oppose the norms and values of transnational, global capitalist hegemony, which suppresses the poor of the third world. Therefore their resistance is not aimed at a single state nor are their ideals bound to particular states rather it is against the world wide system of global capitalism.

We may argue that the very structure of globalisation has made possible the popularity (in 2005 alone, 155.000[19] took part in the WSF meeting) of such counter hegemonic movements; as ‘cheap transportation and communication facilities including the internet, have enabled cross border movement of people, ideas strategies and initiatives’[20]. Individuals no longer need acquiesce to religious, racial or cultural identities within state boundaries, they can form their own view of what society, state and law should be and importantly globalisation has given them the tools to make a difference[21]. The popularity and strength of civil society movements show that to bring about reform which is at odds with state law or policies, individuals will overlook their differences and campaign and exert pressure jointly[22]

Although the easier access to information has benefitted individuals, it has not helped the supremacy of the state. For example, due to the internet being borderless and transcending individual state boundaries, questions of jurisdiction inevitable appear.

If you commit a trespass in national jurisdiction- the state will prosecute you- but what if you eg suggest and incite violence in another country on the internet- on what basis and by whose laws can states prosecute you? The concept of reciprocity also proves problematic, in the sense that how many citizens will you send to the other country to be judged or what if the individuals’ action did not go against his own state policy but harmed the sensitivities of other nations and people- who is meant to judge these people and who defines these offences? However, without the states monopoly on the legitimate use of violence, without its laws, power and resistance may reach such levels, where the views of a dangerous minority can lead to chaos and anarchy[23].

The Jylends-posten cartoons[24] provide a good example of how globalisation has allowed power and resistance of contemporary society to truly transcend state boundaries. A small Danish newspaper printed offensive pictures of the Prophet Mohammad pbuh[25]; the benefits of technology (through globalisation) led to their reprinting in many countries of around the world and this enraged Muslims and led to protests around the world[26]. The initiation and prolongation of this conflict relied on global communication in order to propagate the cartoons but also made possible mass activism via the internet, mobilephone and coverage in the media. Many middle eastern states intervened, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and there even a boycott[27] of Danish goods- despite the fact that the cartoons were not drawn by the state or its institutions, they were drawn by private individuals.

The theory of ‘fragmented pluralism’[28], helps us understand why power and resistance is transcending state boundaries. Globalisation has increasingly fragmented law, it has allowed individuals to find that their philosophies maybe shared by thousands across the world, eg via facebook groups[29], and so they form groups where resistance by millions can be approved of and acted upon within a few hours. Globalisation has also led to demands for legal pluralism, where there would be parallel legal systems within a state, and each citizen would have the right to choose the legal system of his preference. These demands for legal pluralism often come from religious believers [30], In the UK Muslims seem to be using two different legal systems[31], however, the effect of this type of legal pluralism and resistance opposes the objective of the state, namely to unite citizens through homogenisation, and ensure that one legal system applies equally. And this type of empowerment and resistance is not limited to only Muslims in the UK, for example, the Jews use ‘Beth-din’ court.

Despite the importance of NGOs in raising and addressing social concerns, they are increasingly under tremendous pressure. Distinctions between state, markets and society are blurring; questions about accountability, transparency and impact of NGOs are now being demanded with greater frequency and vigour in the past few years. Although the term "non-governmental organization" implies independence from governments, larger NGOs seem to depend heavily on government and businesses for much of their funding[32]. So are NGOs really a part of the state mechanism or does their power and resistance transcend the boundaries and laws enforced by the states? The activities of NGOs in recent times suggests not. In recent years, many large corporations have increased their corporate social responsibility departments in an attempt to hinder NGO campaigns against certain corporate practices. However this suggests that NGOs are becoming increasingly corporatized.[33] This type of behaviour has attracted criticism from many other civil society movements[34] and individuals[35]. The lack of input and participation by the members of many NGOs, NPOs, thinks tanks etc in the ‘’decision- making and structure of their organisations’’[36] is also criticised- yet, the simple fact that individuals from different parts of the world actually have an interest (eg in grassroots workers rights in Brazil), is proof that state boundaries are of no concern when individuals seek to display their power and resistance to the forces of global capitalism.

The fact of the matter is that globalisation has allowed worldwide catastrophes, atrocities and sufferings to be kept under close scrutiny and observance. People are beginning to act globally, to generate political momentum worldwide to support their local issues. For example, February 15th, marked a historic, unprecedented global peace protest[37], we saw that ‘in hundred of cities, the protest featured rare coalitions- vastly different from those typically formed by self-interested sectional groups- both pluralistic and altruistic in character’[38]- this was surely the display of civil society at its best. After, WSF 2007, the New York times talked about the ‘’shifting power equation" in the world, that "nobody is really in charge"[39]. Some analysts are going so far to say that there are currently two major superpowers: the United States and the international protest movements’’[40].

Anthny D’amoto argues that ‘the rules are obeyed not out of fear of the states power, but because the rules by and large are perceived to be right, just, or appropriate’[41]. Globalisation seems to have made this type of rationale very common and widespread. Individuals and non state organisations are thus recognising their important role as makers and observers of laws, if they don’t like conventional law, then there are means by which individuals can challenge it- and civil society movements have provided solid platforms for resistance, thus supporting the fragmentation of law. If states refuse to respect the concept of popular sovereignty [42]- then individuals have the tools to resist- regardless of whether this resistance is effective or not. ‘’New means of communication and travel, diasporas, global media events, the exposure of local communities to global markets, and worldwide mobilisation of protests’’[43], through the internet and mass media are all powerful forces which I believe, have created relationships’ and connections between people; creating a whole new legal and political arena where each day, decisions and actions of individual/groups are becoming law. This is not law between nations but a law between the people of the world; it is unregulated and perhaps cannot ever be regulated.

It could be argued that ultimately individuals can work only within the boundaries placed by the respective states, that they only have the power or can only demonstrate resistance via privileges which have been explicitly conferred to them by the states- nothing more. However, this outlook is unfair and misses the point; that changing human thoughts and working for legal rights takes time and sustained effort. Our legal and political systems were not introduced one day nor were the laws implemented within a single day; and we are talking about the massive difference individuals without military power want to make. The positive differences the WSF, NGOs and other civil society movements want to make are not confined to the borders of certain law or states- but they want to recognise and make changes across the world- regardless of individual state boundaries.

In conclusion, law may seem like a necessary evil, almost a conditio sine qua; although it limits the independence of individuals it is essential as a means for bringing together people in today’s globalised fragmented and plural society[44].

However, I believe that there is nothing immutable about law; legal rules by definition are historic notions developed by states and people- and thus by nature, they should be open to challenge. In today’s world, the essence of state law has changed; the state no longer has complete domination over law. Perhaps worldwide, we should look at law from a different angle. I propose an idea based on Eugen Ehlrich view of living law- ‘living law is the law which dominates life itself though it has not been posited in legal propositions’[45]. The paradigms of life itself have changed due to globalisation, the effects of power and resistance from civil society movements as well as TNCs is living law- and the success of our current and future state laws depends on it being in accord with this living law. I believe that gatherings such as the WSF despite their lack of legally recognised power have authority from the people of the world. Though their effect on legislation have not been as important as the effects of eg WEF gatherings, I agree with and support the rather captivating words of Wallerstein- ‘the WSF sometimes seems like a lumbering tortoise. But in Aesop's fable, the glittering speedy Davos hare lost the race’’[46]




  • Croucher, Sheila L- Globalization and Belonging: The Politics of Identity in a Changing World. Rowman & Littlefield. (2004)
  • Santos, De Sousa and Gravito, Rodriguez ‘Law, Politics and the Subaltern in Counter Hegemonic Globalization’’ in De Sousa Santos, Rodriguez Gravito. Law and Globalization form Below: towards a cosmopolitan legality, Butterworths Lexis Nexis 2002
  • edited by Micheal Likosky: Transnational legal processes- Globalisation and Power Disparities ,Butterworths, 2002
  • edited by Thomas Faist, Peter Kivisto, Dual citizenship in global perspective : from unitary to multiple citizenship’'Basingstoke, Hampshire ; New York : Palgrave Macmillan, 2007
  • Yilmaz, Ihsan, ‘Muslim laws, politics and society in modern nation states’- Ashgate Publishing, 2005



Langlois, Anthony J- Human Rights, (2002) The globalisation and fragmentation of moral discourse- link-

Choudhury, Kameshwar- (2004) Global Civil Society, Globalization and Nation-State,

Teubner, Gunther,Breaking Frames 2002 : Economic Globalisation and the Emergence of Lex ; European Journal of Social Theory, Vol. 5, pp. 199-217,. Available at SSRN:

J (2006)- ‘Taking Empire Seriously: Empire’s Law, Peoples’ law and the World tribunal on Iraq’, Bartholomew, A (ed) Empires law: The American Imperial project and the ‘War to Remake the World’, Pluto Press, London, pp313-339

B (2003)International law from below: Development, social movements, and third world resistance. Cambridge uni press,Cambridge ch8

Claus, Haas (2008) Citizenship education in denmark: reinventing the nation and/or conducting multiculturalism(s)?- London review of education 6159-62

Pearl & Menski, 1998, in ‘Muslim Family law’, Sweet and Maxwell

Department of US Army, (2008)-‘’Army special Operations Forces unconventional Warfare’’-linkk-

Simonson, Karin (March 2003). "The Anti-War Movements – Waging Peace on the Brink of War" ,-

Anthony D'Amato, (1984) "Is International Law Really 'Law'?", Northwestern University Law-Review, Volume 79, pages 1293-1314



What is civil society, London School of Economics website- Link-

Taylor, Rupert- Interpreting Global Civil Society,

Margaret Thatcher’s interview with Woman's Own Douglas Keay- 1987- link-

Anheir, H, Marlies Glasius, Mary Kaldor, 2005: Link-

Barumas, Ian- link-

Rita Anand, 2007, ‘India needs its NGOs’, Link-

Alex Rodriguez, ‘’Hobbled NGOs wary of Medvedev Watchdogs are civil lifeline in lawless Russia’’- May 07/ 2008- link-

Márquez, H World Social Forum: 2006, ‘’Global Protest with a Caribbean Twist’’-

Li, Fan- ‘The global Links Initiative- Social Entrepreneaurship a new Trend in China’-link-

Albrow, Martin and Anheir, Helmut- 2006 ‘Violence and the possibility of global civil society’- link-

Alan Travis and Madeline Bunting, 2004, ‘’British Muslims want Islamic law and prayers at work’’, 2004- link-

Mayank Sharma (2008) in ‘’Microsoft influencing partner NGOs to support OOXML in India’’- link-

Immanuel Wallerstein, 2007, ‘The World Social Forum: From Defense to Offense, Agence Global,  - link-

[1]  Pg 10, Sheila L. Croucher

[2] The movements listed in LSEs working definition are not exhaustive and shows the plurality of the cosmopolitan world we live in today see‘what is civil society’ for full working definition of LSEs Centre for Civil Society

-- ‘’Civil society refers to the arena of uncoerced collective action around shared interests, purposes and values. In theory, its institutional forms are distinct from those of the state, family and market, though in practice, the boundaries between state, civil society, family and market are often complex, blurred and negotiated. Civil society commonly embraces a diversity of spaces, actors and institutional forms, varying in their degree of formality, autonomy and power. Civil societies are often populated by organisations such as registered charities, development non-governmental organisations, community groups, women's organisations, faith-based organisations, professional associations, trades unions, self-help groups, social movements, business associations, coalitions and advocacy group.’’

---Rupert Taylor observes that the term Global Civil Society has emerged as ‘ a kind of catchall term for NGOs or social movements, of all shapes and sizes, operating in the international realm’- and I shall refer use the term Civil society in this manner, due to the difficulties in mentioning each group individually.

[3]  That those who work hard will be successful- and that states can not take responsibility for the failures of individuals, this kind of though is typified by Margeret Thatchers remarks-  ‘’who is society? There is no such thing!’’- Interview with Douglas Keay, Woman's Own magazine-‘’I think we have gone through a period when too many children and people have been given to understand "I have a problem, it is the Government's job to cope with it!" or "I have a problem, I will go and get a grant to cope with it!" "I am homeless, the Government must house me!" and so they are casting their problems on society and who is society? There is no such thing! ‘’

[4] Anheir et al- the number of INGOs is found to have increased form about 6,000 in 1990 to more than 25,000 in 2002

[5] It is argued that human rights values are universal; through the ‘mechanism of natural law or social contract they are at the basis’ of all creeds, quoted form Anthony J langlois,

[6] ’in the context of neo liberal globalisation, the most desperate and marginalised  account for the immense majority of the world population’’- Santos, D Sousa and Gravito R

[7] Anheir et al- Global Civil Society- Lse website

[8] I shall use the term civil society movement as including, of the movements mentioned in LSE working definition of Global Civil Society Movements as it seems to offer the most helpful definition- i.e registered charities, NGOs, community groups, women's organisations, faith-based organisations, professional associations, trades unions, self-help groups, social movements, business associations, coalitions and advocacy group.

[9] R.Robertson notes the growth of a growing global conciousness, i.e. the sense of a common community of humankind, --- from Kameshwar Choudhury, 2004

[10] Lex Mercatoria was the legal system used by merchants- it originated from the problem that civil law was not responsive enough to the growing demands of commerce in medieval Europe.- Tebnar. G

[11] - Kameshwar Choudhury, Global Civil Society

--Also, according to Tariq Ramadan, , ‘the global order of neoliberal capitalism allows the wealthy West to dominate the world’- from Ian barumas meeting with Mr Ramadan

---Loans from the IMF are ‘conditioned upon changes to the reciepent’s domestic political order. Changes ranged from shifts in state spending for social programmes to curtailment of planned infrastructure projects… TNCs have more power over domestic decision making than is often assumed.’’ -pg 221- M B Likosvy, in Transnational legal processes, globalisation and power disparities, 2002

[12] Pg266- Seyla Benhabib in Dual Citizenship in Global perspective

[13] Teubnar 1997- quoted from Seyla Benhabib, Ibid

[14] This is summed up nicely in Santos and Gravito- ‘’NGOs, unions, consumers, workers and other actors in global world and south are organising to challenge the market friendly regulation of labour conditions, corporate accountability, intellectual property rights, and th environment which fuels the spread of sweatshops in the Amercias, the African Aids pandemic and the environmental degradation of Europe’’--- B. Santos and Gravito Cesar, Law, politics and the subaltern in counter hegemonic globalisation

[15] pg 323 Nayar. J (2006)- ‘Taking Empire Seriously….’’

[16]  In India alone, there are more 1.2 million NGOs- *95- Rita Anand, ‘India needs its NGOs’, January 08/2007

----and in Russia around 277,000 -  Alex rodrigues,

[17] pg253 , Rajagopal.B (2003)

[18] og 255 Rajagopal.B (2003), Ibid

[19] Márquez, H, World Social Forum

[20] *28- read Saskia sassen, Globalisation and its discontents, 1998

[21] A nice example of this type of activity is shown by Fan li and social entrepreuship in china. Fan Li came up with idea of Global Links Initiative,’’ a newly established nonprofit organization (NPO) on social inclusion and citizen empowerment themes with a Japan-China-United Kingdom dimension’’

[22] For example, eg on 15th of February, people from all sectors of society, movements from all sides of the political spectrum protested against the imminent invasion of Iraq.

[23] failed states such as Yugoslavia, Rwanda, congo and Iraq show the catastrophic effects of ‘fragmented pluralism’

[24] Jylands Posten  a Danish newspaper, printed very offensive pictures of the Prophet Mohammad.  Due to respect and reverence, Islam generally forbids any pictorial representation of Mohammed

[25] Pbuh- Peace be upon Him – (is the way Muslims show respect to him)

[26] This led to the protest of ‘’more than 1 million muslims…in  more than 30 countires on every continent’-Albrow M and Anheir H

[27] Costing exporters a looss of around $30 dollars-- pg 9, Violence and the possibility of  Global civility, Martin Albrow and Helmut Anheir-

-This type of behaviour supports De Sousa findings that ‘rallies, strikes, consumer boycotts, cicvil disobedience are part and parcel of counter hegemonic movements that simultaneously pursue institutional avenues such as litigation and lobbying’- in Santos and Gravito

[28]it emphasises that as ‘identification and loyalties are directed towards sub-national groups rather than towards the nation’ and it is within these groups that individuals find’ substantial moral and cultural bonds’’ Haas Claus, Citizenship education in denmark: reinventing the nation and/or conducting multiculturalism(s)?- (2008- London review of education 6159-62

[29] If an individual encounters a problem eg in England- he can voice his opinion on the internet, make a website eg ’50 years is enough’ website, or make a group on facebook and connect with millions of people instantaneously.

[30] -(especially Hindu, Jews and Muslims), because believers are required to follow their religious law, whilst they are subjects to laws enacted by a secular state.

e.g.Alan Travis and Madeline Bunting, ‘’British Muslims want Islamic law and prayers at work’’, 30 November 2004

[31] Pearl & Menski 1998 ch 3, pg 277 introduce the concept of Angrezi Shariat, showing how sharia law operates through community and religious network in reshaping the lives of Muslims in a British context-

[32] The EU and British government donated ‘’a quarter of the $162 million income in 1998’’ and ‘’Doctors without borders gets 46% of its income’’ from government sources- Department of US Army

[33] Mayank Sharma- explains the way one of the worlds biggest TNCs -Microsoft has exploited their relationship with NGOs. It tells us that NGOs have supported Microsoft campaign to promote Office Open XML specification because Microsoft is a member of their organisation. A leader of Microsoft explicitly mentioned that Microsoft has partnered with 13 NGOs with "cash and software grants amounting to approx $9.3 million US.- basically implying Microsoft’s right to NGO support.

[34] African grassroot activist in wsf meeting 2006 -‘ NGOs use us all the time to hold money and contracts but never listen to us’’- Pg 12,Albrow.M and Anheir.H-

[35] ’civil society, I hate this term! Civil society is what we no longer are!.. A lot of NGOs are now active within the UN and that hasn’t changed anything-- Statement of famed journalist Naomi Klein at WSF 2002, quoted from  pg12, ‘’Violence and the possibility of Global Civility’’- ibid

[36] pg 14-Martin Albrow and Helmut Anheir- ibid

[37] Who would have thought a 100 years ago, that on one day, millions of people in different part of the world rally to protest against a states (US and UKs) imminent invasion of another country?-

[38] pg 14, Simonson, Karin (March 2003)

[39] Immanuel Wallerstein, The World Social Forum

[40] pg 17, Simonson, Karin (March 2003). "

[41] Anthony D'Amato, "Is International Law Really 'Law'?"- 2004

[42] Popular sovereignty pronounce that legitimacy or rule of law is based on the consent of the governed however, in the recent war in Iraq, most states of the world, ignored the sentiments of the people.

[43] pg 2 ’Violence and the possibility of Global Civility’’- Albrow.M and Anheir.H-

[44] FG Synder said ‘’globalisation has witnessed the rise of new political actors such as multinational firms, non- governmental organisations and social movements. It has tended to weaken, fragment, and sometimes even restructure the state…’’--- Transnational Legal Processes

[45] Eugen Ehlrich 1913, refused the traditional view of law and did not accept the monopoly of the state on law and said that ‘living law is the law which dominates life itself though it has not been posited in legal propositions’ and that the effectiveness of state law depends on it being in accord with this living law.Quoted from page 18, Yilhan Ilmaz

[46] Immanuel Wallerstein, Ibid