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LAW Legal Citation (McGill Guide) Quick Reference

Intended to be a quick reference for footnoting some common types of citations for Canadian legal publications.

Books (Chapter 6.2)

Print example:

Philip H Osborne, The Law of Torts, 2nd ed (Toronto: Irwin Law, 2003) at 44.

Print example citing to a specific essay within a book that is a collection of essays:

Helen R Won, “Evidence and Eye Witnesses” in Ronald Joseph Delisle & Don Stuart, eds, Evidence: Principles and Problems, 6th ed (Toronto: Carswell, 2001) 43 at 45.

Electronic example:

Philip H Osborne, The Law of Torts, 3rd ed (Toronto: Irwin Law, 2007) at 44 (des Libris – Irwin Law).

Note: The McGill guide requires the regular edition abbreviations for 2nd and 3rd but not for case reporters, where they are written 2d and 3d.

Loose-leaf example:

Peter W Hogg, Constitutional Law of Canada 5th ed (Toronto: Carswell, 2007) (loose-leaf updated 2013, release 1), ch 30 at 30-3.

Journal Articles (Chapter 6.1)

Common journal title abbreviations can be found in Appendix D. For online articles, if a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) has been assigned to the journal article you are citing, you should include it after your traditional citation. Many articles found in databases will have a DOI listed with the rest of their bibliographic information. Some items are not assigned DOIs. If the article you are citing does not have an obvious DOI, you can use the CrossRef website to check to see if it has been assigned an DOI. If a DOI has not been assigned to the journal article, you do not need to include it.

Electronic examples:

Jesse Givner, "Child Poverty and Social Assistance: Gosselin v Quebec (Attorney General)” (2005) 24 CFLQ 105 (WL Can).

Thomas Mcinerney et al, “Recent Regulatory and Legislative Developments of Interest to Energy Lawyers” (2014) 52 Alta L Rev 453 (LAQ).

Donal K Coffey, “’The Right to Shoot Himself’: Secession in the British Commonwealth of Nations” (2018) 39:2 J Leg Hist 117 (Ebsco), DOI: <10.1080/01440365.2018.1484323>.

If the journal is not in a traditional database, you may use the “Parallel Citations to Online Resources” rule (1.6.2) but remember, this requires you to use an archived URL in addition to the regular URL.

John Jacob Smith, “Evidentiary Hearings in Canada” (2014) 6:1 Canadian L & Pol’y J 5, online: <>  []

Print examples:

Thomas M Kerr, "Legal and Regulatory Developments: The Path Forward to Advance Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage as a Climate Change Solution" (2007) 11/12 Intl Energy L & Taxation Rev 232.

Steven A Kennett, Arlene J Kwasniak & Alastair R Lucas, “Property Rights and the Legal Framework for Carbon Sequestration on Agricultural Land” (2005-2006) 37 Ottawa L Rev 171 at 176-78.

Government Reports (Chapter 4)

Electronic example:

Canada, Status of Women Canada, Report by the Government of Canada to the UN Commission on Human Rights, Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women (Ottawa: Status of Women Canada, 1998) at 5, online: Government of Canada <> [].

Print example:

Alberta, Legislative Assembly, Standing Committee on Resources and Environment in Transcript No 27-3-6 (6 October 2010) at RE-307 (Chair: Ray Prins). 

Encyclopedic Digests (Chapter 6.4)

Canadian Encyclopedic Digest (CED):

CED (West 4th), vol 48, title 135 at § 57.

CED 4th (online), Real Property "Right as to Management and Control of Property" (IV.3.(c)) at § 57.

Halsbury's Laws of Canada:

Halsbury's Laws of Canada, vol 78, Real Property (Markham, Ont: LexisNexis Canada, 2012) at HRP-111 "Scope of Land Titles Regime."

Halsbury's Laws of Canada (online), Real Property, "Extates in Land: Land Titles" (I.7.(1)(a) at HRP-111 "Scope of Land Titles Regime."

Other Materials (Chapter 6)

PDF of a non-governmental report:

Amnesty International, “Amnesty International Report 2011: The State of the World's Human Rights” (11 April 2002) at 274, online (pdf): Amnesty International <> [].

Occasional Paper:

Rebeca Macias, "Public Participation in Energy and Natural Resources Development: a Theory and Criteria for Evaluation" (2010) Canadian Institute of Resources Law Occasional Paper No 34, online: University of Calgary Digital Repository, DOI: <>.

N.B. These are often available in print. Cite to the source you have available.

Database example:

International Energy Agency, Key World Energy Statistics (2010), online: OECD iLibrary.

Blog example (

Nigel Bankes, "The Termination of Power Purchase Arrangements in Alberta: What is the Legal Position and What are the Implications of Termination?" (24 March 2016), online (blog): Ablawg <> [].

Website example:

Health Canada, "Brief History of Drug Regulation in Canada" (11 April 2007), online: Health Canada <> [].

SSRN example (unpublished articles):

Barbara A Cosens et al, "The Columbia River Treaty and the Dynamics of Transboundary Water Negotiations in a Changing Environment: How Might Climate Change Alter the Game?" (2014) [unpublished], online: SSRN <> []

Addresses and Papers Delivered at a Conference (unpublished)

If the paper delivered at the conference was subsequently published, cite it in the same manner as a periodical (if published in a journal issue) or a collection of essays (if published as a collection).

Philippe Kirsch, Address (Paper delivered at the John C Tait Memorial Lecture in Law and Policy at the Faculty of Law, McGill University, Montreal, 7 October 2003) [unpublished].

Pierre N Leval, “Fair Use or Foul” (The Nineteenth Donald C Brace Memorial Lecture delivered at the New York University Law Center, New York, NY, 25 April 198), (1989) 36(3) J Copyright Soc USA 167 (HOL).

Citing a Tweet

Barack Obama, “All across America people chose ot get involved, get engaged and stand up.  Each of us can make a difference, and all of us ought to try.  So go keep changing the world in 2018” (29 December 2017 at 8:11), online: Twitter <> []

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