Today I hope to talk a little bit about legal citation, when to use it, and where to find information about it. This will hopefully better prepare you for the next library session, where I will focus on how to find information using CanLII to support your course assignment. Today I will cover
You have also been asked to complete an assignment (you can view it and download it here). The assignment is due February 6th, 2021.
Why do we need to use McGill?!
CRJS is unique in that we often must consult a variety of government documents, including legal documents to support our assignments. However, APA , Chicago and MLA citation manuals do not provide sufficient examples of Canadian law. Therefore, when we are referring to primary law in our writing, which refers to case law/jurisprudence, legislation (statutes and regulations), bills, and debates, we apply the Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation, or commonly referred to as The McGill Guide or sometimes "the red book".
**We only use McGill citation style when we are making reference primary legal resources. If there is an example of what you are trying to cite in a (eg: journals, books, websites), please use APA!
Where to find Legal Information Resources?
There are a variety of resources available that will help you cite Canadian law available to you:
CRJS Citation Guide - customized guide co-created by Scharie, myself, and members of SLS. There are two online access points. A link to the pdf is available at the bottom of the Citations page on the library website, and the document is uploaded on the Citations tab on the Criminal Justice library subject guide (this guide).
Other universities have also published online resources adherent to McGill 9th edition that gives direction on how to cite Canadian law. I recommend the following
*Always confirm with your instructor about how they would like you to treat Canadian legal citation, particularly in courses outside of CRJS!
To cite a case, generally, you need three pieces of information:
Style of cause is legal terminology for the parties involved.
If a case is R v Someone, that means you are looking at a criminal case. (R is the regnal name or the Queen or King; Regina or Rex). Because we live in a constitutional monarchy, if a person commits a crime, they have committed a crime against the Queen or King.
If you are looking at a case Someone v Someone, you are looking at a civil case.
Different language can be used to describe cases; jurisprudence, case law, judicial decisions, judgments etc. they all essentially mean the same thing.
Neutral citations are attributed to cases directly from the courts. They will always take the following format: Year, court, numeric order in which the case was heard. For example, R v Terrigno, 2008 ABPC 240 is the 240th case that was heard at the Alberta Provincial Court in 2008.
Parallel citations or case reporters are often also listed in addition to a neutral citation. These are published by a publishing company (normally issued as a serial in multiple volumes). They usually include a unique headnote, or paragraph summarizing the key points of the case, preceding the case. These headnotes differ, depending on the publisher which is why it is important to cite the version that you consulted.
McGill style stipulates that when citing a case, you should cite the neutral citation, followed by the reporter in which you consulted (if you consulted a reported version of the case. For the purposes of the program, you only need to cite one source, and it should be the version of the case that you have read.
MRU library doesn't subscribe to case reporters (and they are only available in select libraries in the city), so we generally do not have access to these resources, nor are they available online. The only publisher that also makes their case publicly available is the Supreme Court Reporter (SCR).
Generally, we can access case law in two places:
Therefore, you cite the neutral citation, or if it is an SCC case, you can use the SCR citation.
Example: R v Grant, 2009 SCC 32;  2 SCR 353 ***note square brackets indicate year of publication.
If you ever need to figure out what an acronym for a reporter stands for, Cardiff Index to Legal Citation is a helpful resource.
When there is no neutral citation
Occasionally, there will be a CanLII citation in place of a neutral citation. CanLII's scope generally includes digitized jurisprudence beginning in the late 1990s. Sometimes there are requests to digitize cases that occurred earlier, especially if they are particularly significant to Canadian law. Use the CanLII citation when you cannot easily see a neutral citation. Example. R v Bernardo is probably one of the most notorious serial killer trials in Canada, so this case was later published by CanLII. You would cite this case as R v Bernardo, 1997 CanLII 2240.
Citing a Case
On your References List
Example: R v Pickton, 2010 SCC 32
Within your paper
Example: (R v Pickton, 2010 SCC 32 at para 56).
Subsequent citations in your paper (Pickton at para 90).
To cite legislation, the following four pieces of information is required:
Again, with legislation, a variety of terms are applied (legislation, laws, statutes).
Statutes are sometimes referred to as enabling legislation.
The title is in italics eg: Traffic Safety Act, RSA 2000, c T-6.
The volume title abbreviation includes the jurisdiction and the year the publication year eg: eg: Traffic Safety Act, RSA 2000, c T-6.
The chapter number refers to the specific chapter number in which the statute has been assigned in the volume eg: Traffic Safety Act, RSA 2000, c T-6.
Periodically the federal and provincial governments consolidate all current laws in force as of a particular date. (In the print days, think of a set of volume books). These are referred to as Revised Statutes and Revised Regulations. The last time Alberta statutes were consolidated was 2000, and the last time the federal government consolidated the Statutes of Canada was 1985.
Statutes are also published in annual volumes eg: SA, or SC. These contain both new and amending statutes that have received royal assent within that year. These annual volumes also include acts that amend existing acts.
Eg: An Act to amend the Traffic Safety Act, SA 2005, c 34
*If it is a new law that was created post-consolidation, you will cite it as an SA. If the law existed pre-consolidation, the amendment act will be incorporated in the existing act, and you can still cite the RSA. Sometimes annual statutes can amend a number of different laws.
Unless you are doing historical legislation research, always cite the current law.
There are a number of places to find legislation. Generally for this program, you will likely consult the following:
If you are looking for extra-provincial laws, Alberta Law Libraries has a great table with links.
If you are looking for foreign law or international law, NYU has a comprehensive guide.
Citing a Statute
On your References List
Example: Criminal Code, RSC 1985, c C-46
Within your paper
Example: (Criminal Code, RSC 1985, c C-46, s 320.19(1)(a)(ii)).
Subsequent occurrences within your paper after you have already cited it once: (Criminal Code, s 320.19(1)(a)(iii)).
To cite a regulation you need the following information:
Regulations are passed under the authority of an existing statute, hence statutes are referred to as enabling legislation, and regulations are referred to as subordinate legislation. They are also periodically consolidated.
The title is in italics.
Federal regulations are also referred to as statutory orders (SOR) and are cited with the year they were filed and a number.
Eg: Approved Drug Screening Equipment Order, SOR/2018-179
Consolidated regulations of Canada (CRC) are cited with a chapter number and the last revision was in 1978. You will not likely need to cite these in the program.
If a provincial regulation amends a federal act, it is cited as a statutory instrument (SI). In Alberta, provincial regulations can be cited as Alta Reg. or AR.
Example - Regulations under the Criminal Code click under the Regulations tab.
Citing a Regulation
On your Reference List
Provincial: Distracted Driving Regulation, Alta Reg 113/2011 OR Distracted Driving Regulation, AR/113/2011
Federal: Antique Firearms, Regulations Prescribing, SOR/98-464
Within your paper
Example: (Distracted Driving Regulation, AR/113/2011, s 5).
Subsequent occurrence in your paper if you have already cited it once: (AR/113/2011, s 5).
Bills - Basic Information
In Canada, government bills are introduced by the Minister of the Crown. They are drafted by the Department of Justice and are introduced in either the Senate (numbered S-1 through S-200) or the House of Commons (numbered C1-C-200). In order for a bill to become law, it has to go through a number of very specific stages in both the Senate and House of Commons. These stages include:
To cite a bill, it is important to know what stage it is in or it has reached. You need the following information:
Note that the phrasing "assented to" is indicative of a provincial bill, and "as passed by the House of Commons" is indicative of a federal bill.
Royal Assent means the Senate and the House of Commons have both passed the bill in identical form and approves the bill to become law on behalf of the Queen.
‘Coming into Force’ is the date that the legislation, or part of it, becomes enforceable. Laws can come into force in several ways:
You will find information and copies of federal bills on the Parliament of Canada website (LegisInfo).
You will find information and copies of Alberta bills on the Legislative Assembly website.
Citing a Bill
Here is an example of the same bill cited at different stages
On your Reference page:
Bill C-45, An Act Respecting Cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other Acts, 1st session, 42 Parliament (third reading 1 June 2018)
Bill C-45, An Act Respecting Cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other Acts, 1st session, 42 Parliament, 2018 (assented 21 June 2018)
Within your essay:
Example: (Bill C-45, An Act Respecting Cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other Acts, 1st session, 42 Parliament, 2018, cl 5 (assented 21 June 2018).
Subsequent occurrences within your paper (Bill C-45, cl 20).
At what stage of reading is this bill?
Contact Madelaine, and she will help you!
If you need general citation support or help, please access the following resources: