Skip to main content

Legal Citation with the 9th edition of the McGill Guide

This guide provides an introduction to legal citation in Canada.

Citing Journal Articles

This is the citation pattern for journal articles:

author's name, title of article, year, volume number, issue number (if needed), journal or review name, first page number

Example:

H Patrick Glenn, "A Concept of Legal Tradition" (2008) 34:1 Queen's LJ 427.

Citation Breakdown:

A. Author's Name

  • Use initial(s) or first name (as it appears in the journal), then last name, followed by a comma.
  • E.g., H Patrick Glen

B. Article Title

  • The title of the article is placed in quotation marks.
  • E.g., "A Concept of Legal Tradition"

C. Year

  • The year is contained in parentheses.
  • E.g., (2008)

D. Volume Number

  • Always include the volume number.
  • E.g., 34

E. Issue Number

  • It is only mandatory to include the issue number when the issues of the volume are not consecutively paginated, meaning that page numbering begins at 1 for each issue.  Otherwise, inclusion of the issue number is optional. 

  • Issues follow the volume number with a colon.

  • E.g., 34:1 (volume 34, issue 1)

F. Journal or Review

  • Use the established abbreviation for the journal.
  • E.g., Queen's LJ
  • Refer to Appendix D of the McGill Guide Appendix D for a list of periodical abbreviations.
  • Section 6.1.6 of the McGill Guide provides guidance for when there isn't an established abbreviation.
  • For more information, consult Finding Abbreviations for Law Reports and Journals.

G. Page Number

  • This number refers to the first page of the article within the journal.
    E.g., 427

H. Pinpoint

  • When you need to cite to a particular passage, pinpoint to a page (or section, if they are numbered).
  • The pinpoint is introduced by "at".
  • E.g., H Patrick Glenn, "A Concept of Legal Tradition" (2008) 34:1 Queen's LJ 427 at 429.