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 We also keep copies of all superseded editions.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.


Square or Round?

There can be plenty of brackets and parentheses in legal citations. Yet, a case citation is incomplete unless it also includes the year of the decision. If a decision has a neutral citation, the year is already part of the citation and there are no brackets or parentheses to worry about, e.g., 2011 ONCA 55. That’s the easy part. Continue reading