Skip to main content

Legal Citation

Case Citation Examples

Example #1: Queen v Cognos Inc, [1993] 1 SCR 87.

This citation indicates that the Queen v Cognos case was reported in volume 1 of the 1993 Canada Supreme Court Reports, beginning at page 87. The fact that it appears in this reporter indicates that the decision was rendered by the Supreme Court of Canada. Note: this citation is not complete because it does not contain a parallel citation (see example #3 for the complete citation).

Example #2: Queen v Cognos Inc (1993), 99 DLR (4th) 626 (SCC).

This citation indicates that Queen v Cognos can also be found in volume 99 of the fourth series of the Dominion Law Reports, beginning at page 626. Because it is not clear from the case reporter, the year of decision (1993) and the level of court (SCC) were added. Note: this citation is not complete because it does not contain a parallel citation (see example #3 for the complete citation).

Example #3: Queen v Cognos Inc, [1993] 1 SCR 87, 99 DLR (4th) 626.

This citation indicates that Queen v Cognos is reported in the Supreme Court Reports, as well as the Dominion Law Reports (4th series). This is a full parallel citation that accords with Rule 3.1 of the McGill Guide. As there is no neutral citation for this case, the first citation must be to an official case reporter if available - in this example, The Supreme Court Reports.  The second (parallel) citation may be to an unofficial reporter.  According to Rule 3.1, the unofficial reporter must be chosen carefully keeping in mind the accessibility of the reporter to readers.  As well, the parallel citation allows for the communication of added relevance that a decision's appearance in a highly regarded or practice-specific reporter may provide.  In this example, The Dominion Law Reports has been chosen both for its wide readership and excellent reputation.

Example #4: Queen v Cognos Inc (1990), 74 OR (2d) 176 (CA).

This citation indicates that the Ontario Court of Appeal made a decision in the Queen v Cognos dispute, in 1990, and the case can be found in volume 74 of the Ontario Reports (2d series) at page 176. The fact that it appears in this reporter indicates that it was decided in Ontario. Because it is not clear from the case reporter, the year of the decision (1990) and the level of court (CA) was added.  Note: this citation is not complete because it does not contain a parallel citation.

Example #5: Queen v Cognos Inc, [1993] 1 SCR 87, rev'g (1990), 74 OR (2d) 176 (CA), aff'g (1987), 63 OR (2d) 389 (H Ct J).

This citation indicates that the 1993 decision from the Supreme Court of Canada reversed the 1990 decision from the Ontario Court of Appeal but affirmed the 1987 decision of the Ontario High Court of Justice.

The square brackets in this citation refer to the date upon the spine of the reporter where the case is located. The dates in round brackets tell us the actual dates those decisions were handed down.

Note: this citation is not complete because it does not contain parallel citations.

Example #6: Lucas v. Antoniak (1978), 7 CCLT 209 (BC SC), aff'd (1980), 15 CCLT 195 (CA), leave to appeal to SCC refused (1981), 15 CCLT 195n.

This citation indicates the 1978 decision of the BC Supreme Court was affirmed by a 1980 decision of the BC Court of Appeal. Leave to appeal was refused by the Supreme Court of Canada in 1981.

Note: this citation is not complete because it does not contain parallel citations.