Know How

The blog of the Great Library


Leave a comment

The new McGill Guide has arrived!

The 2018 edition of the McGill Guide, more formally known as the Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation, 9th edition, is now available in the Great Library.

The last five editions of the Guide have been published at regular 4 year intervals. While some previous editions brought unexpected and even controversial changes to Canadian legal citation norms, other new editions, such as the 9th, contain few surprises.

The stated aims of the latest edition are conciseness and accessibility. This has resulted in a few useful changes:

  • the hierarchy of sources for citing decisions has been simplified (Jurisprudence, Rule 3.1)
    • citing a second source is no longer required if your case has a neutral citation – “…a parallel citation is unnecessary where a reference is made to a neutral citation”
    • little-understood “semi-official” print reporters are now lumped in with “Other Sources”
    • where your case has neither a neutral or an official reporter citation, your choice of an available other source should be based on accessibility, reflecting the reality of online case law research
  • throughout the Guide, long tables of examples followed by bulleted lists of instructions have been eliminated in favour of more commentary and a few selective examples presented in shaded boxes in the text.

and enhancements:

  • more guidance on citing online sources, including social media
  • expended coverage of international and EU sources
  • inclusion of rules for citing Indigenous sources, such as constitutional documents, treaties and land claims agreements
  • Tables of Contents at the beginning of each tabbed section

The Great Library’s copies of the current McGill Guide are shelved at KF 245 C36 in the Reference Section on the 2nd floor. We also keep copies of all superseded editions.

And if you need help using the new McGill Guide, or citing materials not covered by its rules. Just ask us.


Leave a comment

Know What You’re Looking For

Why is it useful to know the full name of law reports and their jurisdictions? Because you can find cases much more successfully if you look for them in the right places. You won’t find a US, UK, or Australian decision in an electronic resource if it doesn’t include US, UK, or Australian decisions. So it pays to know what you’re looking for. Continue reading


Leave a comment

Wikipedia and Legal Research

Wikipedia was launched this week seventeen years ago. Since its debut on January 15, 2001, the site has grown exponentially in size and popularity. The English language Wikipedia alone contains 5,548,706 articles and Wikipedia is currently ranked the world’s fifth-most-popular website. Its most viewed pages are those on Donald Trump, Star Wars, and various members of the British Royal Family (Source: Wikipedia). So what role, if any, can Wikipedia play in legal research? Continue reading