mavisol (mavisol) wrote in linguaphiles,

Referencing provisions of laws

If I want to refer to a provision of, say, paragraph 4, section 1, Article 73 of a law (the law in question is here:, would it be correct to say "According to para 4 at Article 73(1)..."?

"According to para 4 at Article 73(1) of the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany, "the Federation shall have exclusive legislative power with respect to... currency, money and coinage, weights and measures,
and the determination of standards of time"?
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March 5 2014, 13:40:34 UTC 4 years ago Edited:  March 5 2014, 13:40:54 UTC

I have no experience in legal terminology, but normal plain English would require "According to paragraph 4 of Article 73(1) of the Basic Law...".

However, I would expect standard legal usage to be something like "According to Article 73, part (1), paragraph 4 of the Basic Law..."
Of is correct. I wouldnt use the brackets if using the word 'part'. Legal usage would be According to Article 73 (1) 4... though more likely to put it all in a footnote as Basic Law (19xx) 73(1):4. At least that's UK government usage - other countries and industries may differ.
Questions about how to cite anything—novel, film, law, Internet post—are best addressed by finding out what style manual the publisher uses and looking the answer up there. Probably the two most common style manuals in American English are the Associated Press guide for news writing and the Chicago Manual of Style for general academic writing; but I also have the American Chemical Society, American Psychological Association, Modern Language Association, and U.S. Government Printing Office on my shelves, and I'm sure there are others. There may well be a specific style guide for legal publications. Are you writing for a specific publisher that relies on a specific style manual?

If your document is going to be copy edited, getting the style exactly right is less important, as long as all the information is there. Copy editors are accustomed to putting references in the correct format.