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Legal Citation

Citing Unreported Cases

Print law reporters are selective about publishing cases. Reported cases are chosen because of their relevance in expanding on or clarifying a point of law. Because of this selectivity, many cases remain "unreported". However, the distinction between reported and unreported cases is blurring because these "unreported" cases are often available through electronic sources such as CanLII, Lexis Advance Quicklaw, or WestlawNext Canada.  In that situation, the case should be cited to the database identifier/citation. Where a case is not available electronically, however, it must be accessed directly from the court that handed down the decision.

To cite an unreported case that is not available from a database and does not have a neutral citation, use the following form: style of cause, date of decision, judicial district, docket number, jurisdiction and court.

Example:

Stephenson v Stephenson (6 December 1984), Nanaimo 5920/004143 (BC SC).