Writing to Length

Most essays have a word limit which are designed to make you think carefully about how to organise and illustrate your answer. Check with your institution whether references, footnotes and/or bibliography are included in the word count.

In law assignments, word limits are often restrictive so that you develop concise writing skills and omit any irrelevant material - every sentence counts and you will need to sustain a sharp focus on the question and limiting any tangential discussion.

To keep within the word limit, you will need to:

  • Limit yourself only to the relevant issues and ideas
  • Select and use only relevant material, authority and examples, using only one source for each point made (unless you have an unlimited word count for references)
  • Reword concepts from source material very concisely, making the relevance of each source very clear


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