In 1999, Canadian courts began assigning neutral citations to their judgments (the start date varies depending on the court). The neutral citation is only a case identifier and does not indicate where a case can be found. It consists of three parts:
For example, Lovelace v Ontario has the neutral citation 2000 SCC 37:
The McGill Guide describes two possible patterns to follow when citing a case. The answer to the question, "Does the case have a neutral citation?," will determine which of the two case citation patterns to follow. These two patterns are explained in detail in the next two sections of this guide.