McGill with Footnotes


For detailed examples of different types of McGill References, see the McGill: Examples & Applications page.


  • Footnote the first instance of each statute in each chapter.
  • Subsequent references to the statute do not need a footnote.
  • For well-known statutes, such as the Criminal Code and the Charter, or a governing statute for a particular text (e.g., the Youth Criminal Justice Act in the text titled Prosecuting and Defending Youth Criminal Justice Cases), cite the statute only at the first mention in the text to avoid needless repetition. The audience will be familiar with these statutes, and the citation does not need to be given in each chapter.
  • Give an abbreviation at first mention if the Act is longer than three words and is being cited again in the chapter.
  • No need to establish an abbreviation for Acts with only three words or fewer in the title.
  • Do not use “supra” for subsequent references to Acts—use the Act name or the abbreviation of the Act name instead if necessary (contra McGill.)
  • Do not include a footnote at all for subsequent references to Acts unless it is to give a section reference.
  • If the section number is included in the running text (even in parentheses), and the Act has already been cited, a footnote is not needed.
  • If a section number is not included with a quotation from an Act, include a footnote with the abbreviation of the statute name and the section number: YCJA, s 23(2).
  • If the Act is cited in a footnote many times in a row, repeat the abbreviation, rather than using “Ibid.

New as of June 23, 2017: Do not repeat Act name in footnote unless the name is not mentioned in running text.

[running text]
The Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act6 allows Canada to collect fines7...
6 RSC 1985, c 30 (4th Supp) [MLACMA].
7 MLACMA, s 9.
8 MLACMA, s 11.

In the following example, the Criminal Code has already been cited, and the section reference is in the text, so no footnote is needed.

[running text]
Section 684 of the Criminal Code states: “A court of appeal or a judge of that court may, at any time, assign counsel to act on behalf of an accused.”

In the following example, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations have already been cited earlier in the chatper, and the abbreviation “IRPR” was given. The section reference is in the text in parentheses, so no footnote is needed.

The IRPR define “study permit” as “a written authorization to engage in academic, professional, vocational or other education or training in Canada that is issued by an officer to a foreign national” (s 2).


  • If the case name is mentioned in the running text, there is no need to repeat the case name in the footnote.
  • No need to establish a short form for cases whose short form is obvious (contra McGill). E.g. “R v Smith” can be cited later as “Smith, supra note X,” without putting “[Smith]” after the first instance.
[running text]
... the common law test established in Dagenais v Canadian Broadcasting Corp7 is used.
7 [1994] 3 SCR 835, 94 CCC (3d) 289.
[running text]
... unless the opposing party can satisfy the common law test established in Dagenais.22
22 Supra note 7 at para 9.


Box features that include footnotes should be footnoted in sequence with the running text. Sources for the entire box receive a source line (not a footnote) at the end of the box.


Use ibid to refer the reader to an immediately preceding reference. Use only if the antecedent is very clear. That is, if there’s only a single reference in the antecedent footnote. If there is more than one, use supra.

If subsequent references contain a pinpoint, the first reference should specify which source is being cited (that is, which source the pinpoints are being taken from).

[running text]
However, given the Supreme Court of Canada’s pronouncement in St-Cloud10 that an .... Wagner J held “he or she might take account of the fact that the trial of the accused will be held at a much later date.”11
10 2015 SCC 27, [2015] 2 SCR 328 [St-Cloud cited to SCC]. 11 Ibid at para 71.

Use supra to refer the reader to a reference containing the original, complete citation. Repeat the case or source name if it’s not mentioned in the running text, or if there is more than one citation in the note to which the reader is being referred. In the first example, even though Toronto Star Newspapers Ltd v Canada is mentioned in the preceding note, an ibid reference might cause confusion because there are two citations in the preceding note. The case name is repeated for clarity as well. In the second example, there’s no need to repeat the case name because it is mentioned in the running text.

[running text]
Section 517 was held to be a justifiable limit on the right to freedom of expression guaranteed by section 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.18 The pressing and substantial objectives of section 517 are to safeguard the right to a fair trial and to ensure expeditious bail hearings.19     [footnotes]
18 Toronto Star Newspapers Ltd v Canada, 2010 SCC 21, [2010] 1 SCR 721 at para 61 and Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Part I of the Constitution Act, 1982, being Schedule B to the Canada Act 1982 (UK), 1982, c 11 [Charter].
19 Toronto Star Newspapers Ltd v Canada, supra note 18 at para 23.
[running text]
... an obligation to be full, fair, and frank in the application.13... have the extradition proceedings stayed, as was argued in Tollman.47     [footnotes]
13 USA v Tollman (2006), 271 DLR (4th) 578 at para 135 (Sup Ct J).
47 Supra note 13 at para 140.

Use infra to refer the reader to a subsequent reference. Not very common, but used when a case is first mentioned simply in passing, and is discussed more fully later on in the text. An “infra” reference can be used at the first mention.

[running text]
An additional reason to undertake such a process is to cause the immediate cessation of any offensive behaviour.2
2 As in Harriott v National Money Mart, infra note 15.
    [running text; later in chapter]
The HRTO made a similar finding of a failure to properly investigate in the case of Harriott v National Money Mart.15
15 Harriott v National Money Mart, 2010 HRTO 353.


Placement of FN Numbers Around Block Quotations

When citing block quotations where the case or statute name appears in the text leading up to it, two footnotes are needed—one following the case or statute name with the citation(s) in it and another at the end of the block quotation with the exact pinpoint in it.

The Ontario Court of Appeal decision in R v Willock18 also linked the actus reus and mens rea:
Criminal negligence in the context of driving-related allegations of criminal negligence requires proof that the accused’s conduct constituted a marked and substantial departure from that expected of the reasonable driver and proof that the conduct demonstrated a wanton or reckless disregard for the lives or safety of other persons. The requisite wanton or reckless disregard may, but not must, be inferred from proof of conduct that constitutes a marked and substantial departure from that expected of the reasonable driver.19

18 2006 CanLII 20679, 212 OAC 82 (CA).
19 Ibid at para 29.


See more details, like placement in relationship to punctuation, footnotes in tables and figures, etc., under Usage & Practice, here.


1 R v Brydges, [1990] 1 SCR 190, 53 CCC (3d) 330.

2 Human Rights Code, RSO 1990, c H.19.

3 Criminal Code, RSC 1985, c C-46, s 672.76(2)(a.1).

4 D Buckley & B Jayne, Electronic Recording of Interrogations (Eagle River, Wis: Hahn, 2009).

5 AW Bryant, SN Lederman & MK Fuerst, The Law of Evidence in Canada, 3rd ed (Toronto: LexisNexis Canada, 2009).

6 Janice Johnston, “Mark Lindsay Confession Came After Hours of Interrogation,” CBC News (21 February 2016), online:

7 R v LF, 2006 CanLII 4903 at para 10 (Ont Sup Ct J) .

8 R v Elliott, 2003 CanLII 24447, 181 CCC (3d) 118 (Ont CA) .

9 Brydges, supra note 1.

10 Bryant, Lederman & Fuerst, supra note 5 at 123.

11 Ibid at 124-25.

12 Criminal Code, s 64.

Internal Cross-References

First-level headings are coded “<ST>” and referred to as “Section.” Internal cross-references refer to, e.g., “Section IV.A”.