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How do I reference confidential documents? e.g. Company lease agreement, Certificate of Currency to just support the commercial lease term and what to be insured to rent an office space in essay.

2 answers


Hi Taeko,

Tess's picture
Tess, 4 years ago

Hi Taeko,

Because these type of documents aren't publically available you needn't reference them as you would a book or a website. Instead you treat them as 'persona communication'. With personal communication you reference the document in the text of your writing but not in the reference list, and you indicate that the document is personal communication by writing pers. comm. in the in text reference. 

I'll cut and paste some text from our referencing pages below to explain further:

"Personal communications can take a number of forms: conversations, emails, letters, interviews and so on. Records of these are normally kept in a secure location by the researcher and, for reasons of privacy, are not normally available for consultation except under special circumstances (eg by thesis examiners). For this reason it is not normally necessary to refer to personal communications in your reference list.

In the text of your document you should specify the year and the date (day month) when the personal communication took place. Note the use of initials in front of the surname.

In text

M. Jones (1989, pers. comm., 6 May) believed that this was not relevant.

This was confirmed by email (R.J. Brown 2008, pers. comm., 3 July).

If you are having trouble finding a date for the source, or you aren’t sure how to reference a source with more than one author, please view our More Information page."


Thanks, hope this helps



cli's picture
cli, 3 years ago

Hello Tess, thanks for the information. What if the source (eg M. Jones or R.J Brown in this example) is confidential or do not want their name used for privacy reasons? Thanks

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