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Legal Citation

How to Include a Case History

  • When a case has gone through more than one court level, it may be relevant to reference the complete case history.  For more information, see section 3.11 of the McGill Guide.
  • While it is possible to begin a citation with the decision from any court level, the conventional method is to cite either the final or initial court level and list each decision sequentially from there.
  • When citing in the order of highest to lowest court level (prior history), use the abbreviations aff'g (affirming) and rev'g (reversing).
  • When citing in the order of lowest to highest court level (subsequent history), use the abbreviations aff'd (affirmed) and rev'd (reversed).
  • These key words all relate to the first case cited.

Prior History Example

R v Carosella, [1997] 1 SCR 80, rev'g (1995), 26 OR (3d) 209 (CA), aff'g (1994), 25 CR (4th) 301 (Ct J (GD)).

This case history indicates that the Supreme Court's decision reversed the Ontario Court of Appeal's decision and affirmed the Ontario Court of Justice (General Division). In other words, the Supreme Court disagreed with the Court of Appeal but agreed with the trial court.

Subsequent History Example

R v Carosella (1994), 25 CR (4th) 301 (Ct J (GD)), rev'd (1995), 26 OR (3d) 209 (CA), aff'd [1997] 1 SCR 80.

When ordered this way, the case history indicates that the Ontario Court of Justice (General Division) was reversed by the Ontario Court of Appeal but affirmed by the Supreme Court. In other words, the Court of Appeal disagreed with the trial court, but the Supreme Court agreed with the trial court.