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Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation (9th Ed.)

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About Footnotes

In legal writing, the standard way to cite is to use footnotes. In-text citations are only used for memorandums and factums. Properly citing your sources allows readers to follow up and learn more if they are interested, gives credit to the original authors and helps avoid plagiarism (learn more on MacEwan's Academic Integrity page). Make sure that your sources are included in footnotes or citations throughout your paper and in a bibliography at the end of your paper.

McGill Guide footnote guidelines are detailed below.


The general form of a jurisprudence citation footnote is, Style of cause, | main citation | pinpoint, | parallel citation | [short form]. The short form is based on the surname of one of the parties or something distinctive in the style of cause, and you do not have to include the short form title in your bibliography entry.

Cases with neutral citations:

XYZ Corporation v ABC Ltd, 2019 BCCA 76 at para 23 [XYZ Corporation].


Cases without a neutral citation:

Brown v White (2007), 25 RFL (4th) 567 at 212-228, [2007] NSJ No 123 (QL) (Family Ct) [Brown v White].


Cases that include the case history:

R v Smith, [2008] 2 SCR 123, aff'g (2006), 45 ABCA 567, rev'd (2005), 78 Alta LR 321 (QB) [R v Smith].

Statutes and Regulations

The general form of a statute citation footnote is, Title, | statute volume | jurisdiction | year, | chapter, | other indexing elements, | (session or supplement), | pinpoint, | [short form]. If there is an official short title for the statute, the initial citation only needs the short title. If the statute does not have an official short title or the title is too long, then you can create a unique short form title that you include at the end of the citation.

When citing regulations, it is mandatory to include the title of the regulation if it is a Consolidated Regulation of Canada. It is recommended, but not mandatory, to include the title of the regulation at the beginning of all regulation citations. The general form of a regulation citation footnote is, Title, | jurisdiction | number/year* | pinpoint, | [short form if needed]. Canadian revised regulations and Quebec regulations follow a different format (see McGill Guide for more information).

*The order of the regulation number and year differs between jurisdictions.

Statute with an official short title:

Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, SC 2001, c 27.


Statute without an official short title:

An Act to amend the Hazardous Products Act and the Canada Labour Code, to enact the Hazardous Materials Information Review Act and to amend other Acts in relation thereto, RSC 1985, c 24 (3rd Supp) [Hazardous Materials Act].



Employment Standards Regulation, Alta Reg 14/1997, s 2.

Government Documents

The general format for citing parliamentary papers is: Jurisdiction, | legislature, | title, | legislative session, | volume | number | (date) | pinpoint | (speaker). 

You do not have to include provincial jurisdiction and the legislature if it is already included in the document title. Only indicate Canada as the federal jurisdiction when you are also citing international materials. Note that legislature and session numbers are noted as follows: 19-2 refers to the 19th Legislature and 2nd Session. If a volume number and speaker name are given, include them in the citation in the places indicated above.

The general format for citing non-parliamentary papers is: Jurisdiction, | issuing body, | title, | (type of document), | other information | (publication information) | pinpoint.

Parliamentary papers:

Alberta, Journals of the Legislative Assembly, 19-2, vol 82 (12 February 1985) at 73.


Non-parliamentary papers:

Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey: Employment by Industry, April 2022, by Jessica Anderson, Catalogue No 71-001-X (Ottawa: Statistics Canada, 15 June 2022).

Encyclopedic Digests

The format for citing encyclopedic digests changes depending on which digest is being cited. Below are citation examples from two of the more common encyclopedic digests, the Canadian Encyclopedic Digest and Halsbury's Laws of Canada.

Canadian Encyclopedic Digest:

Print: CED | (series | edition), | volume, | title | section.

CED (Ont 2nd), vol 3, title 5 at § 26.

Online Edition: CED | edition | (online), | subject matter | (series), | "detailed subject heading & sub-headings" | (CED subheading code) | section.

CED 4th (online), Constitutional Law, "Freedom of Expression: Hate Speech" (8.3) at § 302-309.


Halsbury's Laws of Canada:

Print: Halsbury's Laws of Canada, | volume, | subject matter | section | (update).

Halsbury's Laws of Canada, vol 3, Criminal Law at HCL-172 "Attempted Offences" (Cum Supp Release 6).

Online Edition: Halsbury's Laws of Canada (online), | subject matter, | "detailed subject heading & subheadings" | (subheading code) | section | update.

Halsbury's Laws of Canada (online), Criminal Law, "Criminal Offences: Assault and Related Offences" (VI.6.(A)) at CLC-124 "Defences - Self-Defence" (Cum Supp Release 3).


The general format for citing legal journals is: Author, | "title of article" | (year) | volume: | issue | abbreviation of journal | page | pinpoint | (electronic service). If there are more than three authors for an article, include et al. after the first author's name.

Single author:

John Smith, "Reconciliation in Action: Building Bridges between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Legal Systems" (2019) 65 McGill LJ 321 at 326 (QL).


Multiple authors:

Diane Ramirez & Emma Smith, "Exploring the Scope of Privacy Rights in the Digital Age" (2020) 55 McGill LJ 421 at 432 (QL).

Michael Olatunde et al, "The Evolution of Freedom of Speech Jurisprudence in Canada" (2017) 48 McGill LJ 189 at 197 (QL).


The general format for citing books is: Author, | title, | edition | other elements | (place of publication: | publisher, | year of publication) | pinpoint | (electronic service). If there are more than three authors for a book, include et al. after the first author's name.

Single author:

Sarah Wilson, Comparative Legal Systems: An Introduction to Global Legal Traditions (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2021) at 42.


Multiple authors:

Marie Cardinal & Robert Gold, The Power of Precedent: Exploring the Role of Case Law in Legal Decision-Making (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2019) at 112.

Harry Chen et al, Constitutional Interpretation: Navigating the Principles of Judicial Review (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2018) at 78.

Electronic Sources


Author, | "title of the page/article" | (date of the page/article), | online: | title of the website | <URL> | [archived URL].

Maria Rodriguez, "Blockchain Technology and its Implications for Financial Services" (18 November 2020), online: FinTech Insights <> [].



Author, | "title of the page/article" | (date of the page/article) | pinpoint, | online (pdf): | title of the website | <URL> | [archived URL].

David Johnson, "Climate Change and International Law: Assessing the Paris Agreement" (2021) at 15, online (pdf): Global Environmental Review <> [].


Social media:

Author, | "first sentence of post" | (date posted), | other information, | online: | social medium | <URL>.

Eleanor Osman, "Just announced a new initiative to develop sustainable energy solutions for ..." (12 May 2023), posted on Eleanor Osman, online: Twitter <> [].


Other digital media:

Traditional citation, | type of digital media: | title of the media | (publication information).

Dark Waters, 2019, DVD (Universal City, Cal: Universal, 2020).
Licensed under CC BY-NC | Details and Exceptions