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Legal Citation Style: Home

Legal Citations

Neutral Citation

  • List the names of the appellants, and where the name of the reporter where the case is found. This is assigned by the court and cannot be changed.

 R v Wade, [1995] 2 SCR 737

names of appellant/respondent, year, volume, court, page number

R v Pickton, 2010 SCC 32 

names of appellant/respondent, year of case, court name, decision number


Style of Cause

  • the names of those who were parties to the litigation; v is an abbreviation for versus; the names of the parties and the v are italicized
  • Canadian executive government authority is formally vested in the Queen, hence the use of R for the Latin word for queen, regina, in legal citations


  • a comma follows parentheses, but comes before square brackets
  • (Parentheses) indicate that the reporter volume numbering continues from year to year
  • [Square brackets] indicate that the law reporter starts with volume 1 each year, as in:

Olson v Canada, [1996] 2 FRC 168 (available on CanLII)

R v Bernardo, [2000] ONSC 5678 (available on CanLII)

R v Pickton, [2006] BCSC 995 (available on CanLII)

Please Note: CANLII  gives citation information with its publications that conflict with these rules. Please check with your professor if these citations are adequate for your assignment.

Canadian Guide to Legal Citations


"[P]lagiarism, in an academic context, refers to an intentional decision not to acknowledge the work of others in assignments – or ignoring usually well-publicized obligations to do this."


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