Writing Guide and Document Template Guidance

These templates should be used in conjunction with Writing an Assessed Essay by Professor Robin C A White (PDF) or Writing a Research Paper by Professor Robin C A White (PDF) (for research students and undergraduate dissertation students).

They serve as a guide and are not strictly enforced. You should however follow good practice and are expected to produce an attractive, consistent and readable document.

Download the templates

Note: the layout in Microsoft Word 2007 documents onwards (for Mac or PC) is professionally designed and consequently, a default 'new' document produced by this software will suffice for your essay. If you have changed your default settings or are unsure, download the example files below. (The only change we make in our Word 2007 template is to indent quoted paragraphs.)

Word 2007+ documents also have other benefits such as new anti-aliased fonts (Calibri and Cambria are just two examples) which work better on laptops and flat-panel screens.

For older versions of Word please ensure you use the example files below.

For non-Microsoft Word users or those who rather add the styling themselves, we include some ‘guides’ to formatting at the foot of the page.

The templates for Title, Abstract and Contents are combined to overcome some technical difficulties as are Table of Authorities and Bibliography. Any unneeded part of this template should be deleted.

  • move the mouse pointer over each required link
  • click the right mouse button
  • choose Save Target As... (or Save Link As...) and save the document

Tips and Common Problems

  • Save your work regularly
  • Have at least 2 working backups. Make sure one is networked; use My Documents on CFS, email the file or use an online service such as Dropbox, Google Docs, Skydrive, etc.
  • If you have lost control of your formatting, re-apply the Normal style
  • Word count includes footnotes
  • Use informative file names, not 'document1.docx' but 'evidence-confessions.docx'. Append or prepend the date where you have multiple backups 'evidence-confessions-08-nov.docx'
  • Show/Hide button to display paragraph returns (Word 2007)
  • If you have too much space between paragraphs or titles, you have added extra paragraph returns. Click the Show/Hide button to see where these are and delete them

Formatting ‘guides’

Formatting ‘guides’

The law school took the decision in 2011 to be more flexible in the layout of student work. Consequently any attractive, consistent and readable document should be acceptable. There are suggested example Word files attached above or you can follow these ‘guides’.

  • Paper-size: A4
  • Margins: 2.5 – 3.0 cm
  • Font: Avoid letter plate and script or handwriting fonts otherwise there are many choices. Traditional ‘serif’ fonts include Garamond, Times, Palatino; modern fonts that work well on both screen and in type include Calibri, Cambria, Georgia, etc.
  • Font-size: depends on font used but usually 11-12
  • Line-spacing: around 1.3 lines is a good average (but anything between 1.15 – 2.0)

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