Use CanLII to Confirm Citations

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:

Susannah Tredwell


  1. Katarina Daniels

    Absolutely agree! A student came in earlier this summer asking how to cite to conference materials. We searched CanLII connects to see how others (who do follow the McGill Guide) have done it! A great tip!

  2. If you’re looking for Australian Law, JADE ( gives parallel citations and citation histories. It’s a great place to start your Australian legal research, case law and legislation.

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