McGill: Examples & Applications

For details on citing legislation in APA style, see under APA.


  • Emond’s number range style overrides McGill’s number range style for all number ranges, including paragraph and section number ranges (e.g., 101-2, 123-24).
  • Full statute and regulation titles are italic. Abbreviated titles are roman, contra McGill (e.g., “the Charter”).
  • Contra McGill, Acts do not need supra references. More on the McGill with Footnotes page.
  • Contra McGill, punctuation goes inside quotation marks.
  • Contra McGill, don’t change “The Queen” to “R” in case names; follow the case name used by the reporter and/or court the author is citing.
  • Contra McGill, there is no need to establish a short title for works referenced more than once, unless the short title is not obvious. This is true for primary and secondary sources.
  • Contra McGill, do not omit “http://” and “https://” from URLs. This can cause problems with hyperlinks in some browsers.

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The 9th edition of McGill was published in the last half of 2018. Our texts started following it in early 2019. The main differences between the 8th and 9th edition, and our adaptation of the new rules, are as follows.

Case Citations

McGill 9th dispenses with the need for a second case citation if there is a neutral citation. However, “providing the reader with at least two sources [main citation and parallel citation] is strongly recommended in absence of neutral citation.”

Parliamentary Papers

There is a change to how Parliamentary papers are cited. Specifically, “37th Parl, 1st Sess” has changed to: “37-1.” Bills are still cited with “37th Parl, 1st Sess” written out as before.

OLD STYLE: House of Commons Debates, 37th Parl, 1st Sess, No 64 (17 May 2001) at 4175 (Hon Elinor Caplan).


  • House of Commons Debates, 37-1, No 64 (17 May 2001) at 4175 (Hon Elinor Caplan).

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Online Materials

  • McGill 9th recommends the addition of an archived URL, such as “” If the author provides one, by all means include it, but it is not necessary to create an archived URL for every online source.
  • You can now add a DOI if one is available. See example here.
  • Websites are different in two ways: (1) The title of the website is included in italics immediately before the URL. However, newspapers and other traditional citations that simply have a URL appended to them do NOT need a title in italics immediately before the URL. (2) If the format is PDF (or if it is a blog, or a podcast, or a video), that information is included in parentheses immediately after the word “online.” Other notes about websites below.
    • Author, “Title of Page or Article” (date of page), online: Title of Website [archived URL if available].
    • Where no author is clearly indicated, provide the name of the institutional owner of the domain. Omit author information if obvious from the title of the website.
    • If the only date available is a last modified date, use that date, but add “last modified” before the date in parentheses. If the only date available is the last accessed date, add “last visited” before the date in parentheses.
    • If the link is to a PDF file, blog, podcast, or video, add “(pdf), (blog), (podcast), or (video)” after the word “online”: David Doorey, “Is It Time to Regulate ‘Maximum’ Pay in Canada?” (last visited 14 September 2018), online (blog): Law of Work <>.
  • Twitter posts are different:
    • The author name should be the username, not the handle.
    • Include the time and use 24-hour time.
    • Contra McGill 9th, don’t include the full content of the tweet. Just enough to make it identifiable.
    • See example here.

Secondary Sources

  • For dictionary entries, “sub verbo” is no longer in italics (page E-92).


  • If there is a list of references, include a comma after authors’ names. McGill 8th had a period after authors’ names.

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Queen’s University Library has an excellent, clear introduction to legal citation. It explains, among other things, the meaning of different elements of a case citation. See here.

Include a neutral citation when available. If a parallel print citation is not included, it is not necessary to find/add one.

Neutral Citations

A neutral citation is the official case citation put out by the court itself. It consists of the year, the court name and jurisdiction, and a number assigned by the court.

R v Clifford, 2017 SCC 9. 
[[Supreme Court of Canada]]
RMH Teleservices v BCGEU, 2003 BCSC 278. 
[[Supreme Court of British Columbia]]
Cheung v Shuen, 2015 ONCA 403. 
[[Ontario Court of Appeal]]

The order of precedence for citations is as follows. However, CanLII citations can be demoted to after #5 if the author has been consistent.
1. Neutral
2. Official reporter (Ex Cr, FCR, SCR)
3. CanLII (contra McGill)
4. Semi-official reporter (e.g., Alta LR, OR, Man R)
5. Unofficial reporter (e.g., BCLR, CCC, DLR)
6. Proprietary (Quicklaw, etc.) citation (e.g., OJ, BCJ, CarswellOnt)
7. Case digests (e.g., WCB [Weekly Criminal Bulletin])

Case Name

McGill omits “et al” from case names.

Undisclosed Parties

When a case name includes undisclosed or anonymous parties, follow the style of the reporter. So, if the reporter refers to the case as “R v DC,” leave as is (remove periods if any). If there are parenthesis, include a space before the letter in parentheses:

R v C (D)

Case Year

When the year has no brackets or does have square brackets, that means it’s part of the citation itself and the comma separating the case name from the case citation should come before the year. When the year is in parentheses, that means it’s not part of the citation itself, and the comma should come after the year. In footnotes, where the case name has been mentioned in the text, always include the year in the footnote.

UFCW, Local 1518 v KMart Canada Ltd, [1999] 2 SCR 1083, 176 DLR (4th) 607.
R v Marcocchio, 2002 NSPC 7, 213 NSR (2d) 86.
Weitzner v Herman (2000), 33 ETR (2d) 310 (Ont Sup Ct J).

Court Jurisdiction in Parentheses

McGill’s abbreviations of jurisdictions (provinces/territories) and courts are different from the abbreviation used by the court itself in their neutral citations. The most notable instance of this is the abbreviation of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. In a neutral citation, it is abbreviated:
2013 ONSC 64
In parentheses (McGill style) it is abbreviated:
2008 CanLII 22122 (Ont Sup Ct J)

Where a neutral citation is not available, and the jurisdiction and/or court are not evident from the title of the case reporter, indicate the jurisdiction and/or court in parentheses at the end of the citation.

Leave a space in court abbreviations that consist of both uppercase letters and lowercase letters—e.g., "Ont CA". Do not insert a space between jurisdiction and court in abbreviations that consist solely of uppercase letters—e.g., "BCCA".

Falkiner v Ontario (Director, Income Maintenance Branch, Ministry of the Attorney General) (2002), 212 DLR (4th) 633 (Ont CA).
Bernard v Dartmouth Housing Authority (1989), 88 NSR (2d) 190 (SC (AD)).
Middelkamp v Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (1990), 32 CPR (3d) 206 (BCSC).
Stott v Merit Investment Corp (1988), 63 OR (2d) 545 (CA).

In this example, “Ontario” can be inferred from the “O” in the case reporter name, so only the court abbreviation is needed in parentheses.

For a list of jurisdiction abbreviations used in neutral citations and other court citations, see Canadian and US Abbreviations (the Neutral and Court columns, respectively); for a list of court abbreviations, see Court Abbreviations.

Judges’ Names

You may use the abbreviations "CJ" and "J" without establishing what they stand for.

Don’t use “per” or “per”; style as follows:

R v Sharpe, 2001 SCC 2 at para 24, McLachlin CJ.

Quicklaw Citations

Some reporters are available exclusively on Quicklaw. When a Quicklaw citation appears, add “(QL)” after the citation (but before the court) so that the reader knows where to find the case report.

Fuentes v Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), [1995] FCJ No 206 (QL) at para 10 (TD).

Some common examples of Quicklaw citations are:

  • BCJ = British Columbia judgments
  • AJ = Alberta judgments
  • SJ = Saskatchewan judgments
  • MJ = Manitoba judgments
  • OJ = Ontario judgments
  • JQ = Quebec judgments (jugements du Québec)
  • NBJ = New Brunswick judgments
  • NSJ = Nova Scotia judgments
  • PEIJ = Prince Edward Island judgments
  • NJ = Newfoundland (& Labrador) judgments
  • NWTJ = Northwest Territories judgments
  • NUJ = Nunavut judgments
  • YJ = Yukon judgments
  • FCJ = Federal Court judgments
  • SCJ = Supreme Court judgments

When editing, include a hyperlink to CanLII where available. The link should be on the case citation only (not the case name).

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Acts, Statutes, and Regulations

Most titles of Acts don’t include the jurisdiction. Double check on CanLII. So, “the Ontario Police Services Act,” not “the Ontario Police Services Act.”

Do not included "as amended," unless it is relevant to the discussion.

Punctuation in chapter numbers of statutes is specific to the statute. Follow what is on CanLII or the government website. E.g.: Employment Standards Act, RSO 1990, c E.14; Canada Elections Act, RSC 1985, c E-2.

Constitution Act, 1867 (UK), 30 & 31 Vict, c 3, reprinted in RSC 1985, Appendix II, No 5.
Constitution Act, 1982, being Schedule B to the Canada Act 1982 (UK), 1982, c 11.
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].
Canada Student Financial Assistance Act, SC 1994, c 28, s 1 [CSFAA].
Legislation Act, 2006, SO 2006, c 21, Schedule F, ss 14-15.
Limitations Act, 2000, SO 2002, c 24, Schedule B.
Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, SC 2001, c 27, ss 4(2)(a)-(c), 7 [IRPA].
Bill C-61, An Act to amend the Copyright Act, 2nd Sess, 39th Parl, 2008, cl 4 (first reading 12 June 2008).
Pacific Pilotage Regulations, CRC, c 1270 (1978). year is optional
Pacific Hake Exemption Notice, SOR/86-750.
Rules of Civil Procedure, RRO 1990, Reg 194, r 60.03.

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Parliamentary Papers follow the McGill Guide recommendations set out in section 4.1.

Canada, House of Commons Debates, 41-1, No 2 (3 June 2011) at 15 (Hon Stephen Harper, PM).

For non-parliamentary government documents that are online, rather than follow the Guide in section 4.2, follow the guidelines for websites (section 6.19). An example of a government document cited using the website guidelines (section 6.19):

Department of Justice, “Youth Records” (2015), online: Government of Canada <>. 

Statistics Canada documents have their own citation style:

Statistics Canada, Child and Youth Victims of Police-Reported Violent Crime, 2008, by Lucie Ogrodnik, Catalogue No 85F0033M, no 23 (Ottawa: Statistics Canada, March 2010), online: <>.

Note: There is no need to put the title of the website before the URL for Statistics Canada references.
Note: For simplicity’s sake, for Stats Can references, put the title of the document in italics even if it is a short document.


Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement, Regulations Amending the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, PC 2014-1246 (19 November 2014) C Gaz II, vol 148, no 24, online: <>.
Government of Ontario, Ontario Gazette, online: <>.

Government doc with authors

Audrey O'Brien & Marc Bosc, eds, House of Commons Procedure and Practice, 2nd ed (Ottawa: House of Commons, 2009), online: <>, ch 17, Delegated Legislation, "Historical Perspective."

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Some common documents from the Law Society of Ontario (formerly Law Society of Upper Canada):

Law Society of Ontario, Paralegal Rules of Conduct (1 October 2014; amendments current to [DAY] [MONTH SPELLED IN FULL] [YEAR]), online: <>.
Law Society of Ontario, Paralegal Professional Conduct Guidelines (1 October 2014; amendments current to[DAY] [MONTH SPELLED IN FULL] [YEAR]), online: <>.
Law Society of Ontario, By-Law 6 (amendments current to 30 November 2018), online: <>.
NB: There is no overarching date for all of the by-laws, so each by-law should be cited individually. For the currency date, use the most recent date available.
Law Society of Ontario, Paralegal Rules of Conduct (1 October 2014; amendments current to 28 September 2017), online: <>.

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Apply McGill style punctuation to the title:

K Morlock, “Floating Charges, Negative Pledges, the PPSA and Subordination: Chiips Inc v Skyview Hotels Limited” (1994-1995) 10 BFLR 405.

Book with one to three authors

Use an ampersand instead of “and” in lists of two or three authors. Omit the serial comma.

Anthony Duggan, Amlani Batra & Jacob S Ziegel, Secured Transactions in Personal Property: Cases, Text, and Materials, 6th ed (Toronto: Emond Montgomery, 2013).

Book with more than three authors

In texts with more than three authors, cite only the first author followed by “et al”; see example below.

Gus Van Harten et al, Administrative Law: Cases, Text, and Materials, 7th ed (Toronto: Emond Montgomery, 2015).

Chapter or essay in an edited collection

Walter DeKeseredy, “Changing My Life, Among Others: Reflections on the Life and Work of a Feminist Man” in Susan L Miller, ed, Criminal Justice and Diversity: Voices from the Field (Boston: Northeastern University Press) 127 at 134.

Chapter in a book by the same author

Allan Manson, “Sentencing Options” in The Law of Sentencing (Toronto: Irwin Law, 2000) ch 9.

Online source

Note: If a source was clearly online at some point, but has since been removed, include a note after the URL. Note that this does not apply to websites labelled “archived.” Treat an archived page as a typical website.

“Changes at the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB)” (15 December 2012), online: Government of Canada <> (offline as of March 2018).

Journal article

If there is a DOI, include it.

Kent Roach, “Be Careful What You Wish For? Terrorism Prosecutions in Post-9/11 Canada” (2014) 40:1 Queen's LJ 99.
Nader R Hasan, George Blay & Stephen Aylward, “Cell Phone Searches at the Border: Privilege and the Portal Problem” (2017) 37:4 For the Defence 142 at 145.
Jessica Litman, “What We Don’t See When We See Copyright as Property” (2018) 77:3 Cambridge LJ 536, DOI: <10.1017/S0008197318000600>.

Newspaper article

Tracey Tyler, “Widow Wins Fight for Hidden Cash of Husband,” Toronto Star (22 March 2000).

Paper presented at conference

G Watson, “Settlement Approval—The Most Difficult and Problematic Area of Class Action Practice” (Paper delivered at the Conference on Class Actions, NJI Institute, Toronto, 9 April 2008) [unpublished]

Reference work with corporate author

McGill Law Journal, Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation, 8th ed (Toronto: Carswell, 2014) [McGill Guide].

Federation of Law Societies docs

Federation of Law Societies of Canada, Model Code of Professional Conduct (2014), online: <>.

Criminal Reports

Allan Manson, “The Supreme Court Intervenes in Sentencing” (1995), 43 CR (4th) 306

Criminal Reports (CR) is a case reporting journal


Email from Ingrid Ludchen, Chief Legislative Editor, Legislative Editing and Publishing Services Section, Department of Justice, to Annette Demers (7 February 2011) [Ludchen (7 February 2011)].


Gerald Chan, “For all the lawyers who object to the Stmt of Principles...” (21 February 2019 at 9:14), online: Twitter <>.

Entry in a dictionary

Black's Law Dictionary, 10th ed, sub verbo “judicial notice.”

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In titles following McGill style, in both citations and running texts, omit periods when using an abbreviation or acronym, except for “e.g.,” “i.e.,” and “etc.”

Use “e.g.” and “i.e.” in reference entries but use “for example” and “that is” in regular running text.

Honorifics: no periods: Ms, Mr, Mrs, Dr.

Abbreviated statute and regulation titles (including “the Charter”) are roman, contra McGill. See the McGill with Footnotes page for more info about abbreviated Act titles.

Examples etc., et al, v, R, Ltd, Co, Corp, Inc, e.g., i.e. SAME
See e.g. RMH Teleservices v BCGEU, 2003 BCSC 278 and R v Marcocchio, 2002 NSPC 7, 213 NSR (2d) 86. As explained in R v Marcocchio, the requirement is not applied, for example, where the plaintiff has supplied goods and services to a defendant who has breached the contract.
Tanenbaum v WJ Bell Paper Co Ltd (1956), 4 DLR (2d) 177 (Ont HC). The WJ Bell Paper Co Ltd, in October 1951, purchased a parcel of land.

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Abbreviate pinpoints as shown below. Write page and section numbers as they appear in the source text. That is, if a page pinpoint appears as “6” in the source, use “6”; if it appears as “vi,” use “vi.”

Always refer to parts of Acts as “section,” even if the part in question is a subsection, a clause, a subclause, a paragraph, etc. For example:

Section 536.1(4.2)(a) of the Criminal Code.

In texts with footnotes (professional and college titles), spell out “section” in full in running text. Abbreviate to “s” in footnotes (even if the footnote is written in full sentences) and parentheses. In casebooks, use the abbreviated version everywhere.

Note: Pinpoint references to pages or paragraphs are preceded by "at" (without a comma). Pinpoint references to statutory sections are preceded by a comma (without “at”).

Multiple Pinpoint References

Use a comma to show multiple pinpoint references, rather than “and.”

Ibid, ss 146, 159, 220.
Supra note 5 at 45, 46.

Statutory References

Legislation internally refers to sections, subsections, paragraphs, etc., but legal commentary generally limits itself to referring to sections. It’s conventional to refer to all common law statutory provisions as “section” (and all bill provisions as “clause” and all civil law code provisions as “article”).

 ss 4(1), 6(2)(b)(ii)

When discussion of a particular section focuses on elements of the section, it’s common to refer to, for example, “subsection (4)” or “paragraph (e),” but any reference to the full pinpoint—for example, 123(4)(e)—always uses “section” or “s.”


PINPOINT cl (cls), s (ss), para (paras), ch, r (rr)

"page" is omitted, not abbreviated
clause(s), section(s), paragraph(s), chapter(s), rule(s)
Examples Bill C-61, An Act to amend the Copyright Act, 2nd Sess, 39th Parl, 2008, cl 4. Among other clauses in the lease, clause 12.04 provided that, if Woolworth acquired the adjacent lands, it would ...
When did the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, SC 2001, c 27, s 4 come into force? The contract between Mr Jones and Ms Smith stated, at section [or “s” in casebooks] 7, that the seller is responsible for delivery of the goods.
R v Grandinetti, 2005 SCC 5 at para 8, [2005] 1 SCR 27
Del Zotto v Canada, [1999] 1 SCR 3 at 10, 169 DLR (4th) 130
R v McMillan (1975), 7 OR (2d) 750 at 757 (CA)

Note: Law Society of Ontario pinpoints are treated differently; see under Law Society of Ontario in Spelling.

Numbered Paragraph Pinpoints

Pinpoint references to numbered paragraphs within sections or subsections of a statute are rendered as follows:

Under section 19(3)2(i) of the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule, attendant care benefits are limited to $1 million.
Subparagraph i of section 19(3)2 of the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule limits attendant care benefits to $1 million.
Attendant care benefits are limited by the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule to $1 million (s 19(3)2(i)).

Pinpoint references to numbered paragraphs in the Constitution Act, 1867 are rendered more conventionally:

The provinces have jurisdiction under section 92(15) to impose punishment by way of fine, penalty, or imprisonment in order to enforce valid provincial laws.

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In references, “day month year” per McGill

In running text, “month day, year” and, especially, “month day.”

DATES day month year
30 December 2013
month day, year
December 31, 2013
Secondary Source Bill Curry, "PM, premiers work out deal on aboriginal health care," The Globe and Mail (26 November 2005) A4. On November 15, 2005, B wrote to C, offering to sell C his farm for $150,000.
Legislation Bill S-3, An Act to amend the Energy Efficiency Act, 2nd Sess, 40th Parl, 2009, cl 5 (first reading 29 January 2009). It wasn't until May 14, 2009 that the Act was given royal assent.
Jurisprudence Acuity Fund Ltd et al (13 March 2009), online: OSC <>. On March 13, 2009 the Ontario Securities Commission rendered its decision in Acuity Fund Ltd et al.


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Place commas inside the closing quotation mark.

Note: This is contrary to the McGill Guide.

Bill Curry, "PM, premiers work out deal on aboriginal health care," The Globe and Mail (26 November 2005) A4.

“See” references: When using “See e.g.” as an introductory signal, do not follow “e.g.” with a comma or a colon, but commas should appear around the phrase “e.g.” in all other instances.

There are no periods in abbreviations with some exceptions (see Abbreviations, above). However, periods are retained in URLs and in some statutory and section references.

Human Rights Code, RSO 1990, c H.19.
Criminal Code, RSC 1985, c C-46, s 672.76(2)(a.1).

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  • Enclose URLs in angle brackets, preceded by a backslash. Include "http://" (contra McGill 9th).
  • Alternatively, use "[lt]" and "[gt]" instead of angle brackets with backslashes. These short forms for "less than" and "greater than" are converted to angle brackets by our macro.
  • Omit the trailing slash if it is unnecessary (e.g., especially in root URLs).

In edited ms, include a backslash before angle brackets: \< and \>. This has to do with our macro reading angle brackets as commands. Placing a backslash before the angle brackets means the macro will not read these ones as a command.

Task Force on the Canadian Common Law Degree, Final Report (Ottawa: Federation of Law Societies of Canada, October 2009) at 7-9, online: \<\>.
Convention on the Rights of the Child, 20 November 1989, 1577 UNTS 3, Can TS 1992 No 3 (entered into force 2 September 1990), online: [lt][gt].