Acts of Parliament: Italics or not

January 28, 2013

Based on recent writing tip I wrote for my work colleagues.

As the project I’m working on is subject to regulatory compliance to both state and federal government legislation and regulations, I wanted to remind the authors about our style guide’s rules for using italics, etc. when citing specific Acts of Parliament and associated regulations. Our corporate style guide follows the Australian Style Manual: For authors, editors and printers in most cases.


Some time back Joe asked about when/if Acts of Parliament and/or Regulations get italicised. While this is addressed in [our corporate style guide], here’s a summary:

  •  Titles of Acts are ALWAYS italicised when listed in full (e.g. Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999), but not when they are abbreviated (e.g. EPBC Act).
  • Titles of Regulations and all other documents are NOT italicised in the body of the document.
  • The jurisdiction before or after an Act’s title is NOT italicised (e.g. in Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 (WA), the (WA) bit is not italicised). The abbreviation we use for ‘Commonwealth’ is ‘(Cth)’.
  • The year MUST be added to the full title of the Act and it is italicised (e.g. Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 (WA) NOT Wildlife Conservation Act (WA))
  • You don’t list Acts or Regulations in the document’s References list.
  • You can abbreviate commonly used Acts, but you must list the Act in full in the first instance (with date and jurisdiction) and add the abbreviation you will use after it (e.g. EP Act, EPBC Act). These abbreviated forms are NOT italicised and there’s no need for the year or the jurisdiction. Make sure all these abbreviated forms are included in the Terms list.

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