At work we are frequently asked how to cite a source using the McGill Guide. While most questions are fairly easy (“how do I cite Delgamuukw?”) the McGill Guide doesn’t always have an answer, e.g. “how do I cite an unreported tribunal decision?” or “how do I cite a type of government document [that isn’t listed in McGill]?”
It can be helpful to search CanLII (or other case law database) to see if the source we are trying to find a citation for has been already been referred to. If it has, we can just copy the citation (or copy and tweak the citation). We do keep in mind that it is more important that the person reading the citation be able to find the material we’re referring to than the citation be in perfect McGill format.
Note that a number of courts specify a citation format that differs from the McGill Guide. They include:
- B.C.C.A. Practice Directive, May 30, 2013 – the B.C. Court of Appeal has adopted the 7th edition of the McGill Guide with a number of changes
- Notice to the Profession, November 12, 2013 – the Alberta Queen’s Bench has adopted the 7th edition of the McGill Guide with some minor changes
- Ontario Superior Court of Justice Practice Direction, July 1, 2014
- Reference Guide for Citation Practices at the Court of Appeal for Ontario – effective March 1, 2017
- Citation Guide for the Courts of Saskatchewan – effective October 1, 2014, the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal, the Court of Queen’s Bench and the Provincial Court require citations conform to this guide