Citation Guidelines

The Court officially adopts the most recent edition of the Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation [McGill Guide] for the recommended use of the Bar and Bench whenever an authority is cited in written or oral submissions. This Directive prevails where the McGill Guide is inconsistent with its directions.

1. Use bold for the style of cause whenever a case is cited. Italicize the names of the parties and the letter "v" between parties. Do not use "et al" for multiple parties. It is not necessary to bold secondary sources or legislation.

2. Provide the reader with a maximum of two citations for a case. Do not cite to summaries, headnotes or digests.

  • Use the neutral citation first, where available. Including one parallel citation to an official printed reporter or an unofficial printed reporter after the neutral citation, is optional.
  • If the neutral citation is not available provide two citations. For the first citation, use a citation to an official or semi-official printed law reporter. For the second citation, due to its public availability, the preference is to cite to CanLII (ie. R v Crosby, [1995] 2 SCR 912, 1995 CanLII 107) prior to citing other electronic or unofficial sources.
  • If you are making a pinpoint citation to a particular statement, cite to the paragraph number, when available, and use the shorthand “at para” (singular) or “at paras” (plural).Otherwise, cite accurately to the page number(s) in the printed reporter by simply listing “at (page reference)”. Do not use the letter “p” or “pp” for page or pages.
  • Where the source is an electronic database and the paragraph numbers differ between electronic sources and a printed reporter, you should confirm the source used by adding "QL'', "WL" or "CanLII" at the end of the citation, when that source is non-obvious from the citation.

3. For example, when citing cases, use the following format:

  • reported case: R v Cooper, 2002 ABCA 156
  • reported case with pinpoint reference to paragraph number: R v Cooper, 2002 ABCA 156 at para 3
  • reported case with pinpoint reference to page numbers: Moge v Moge, [1992] 3 SCR 813 at 832-833, 1992 CanLII 25
  • reported case with pinpoint reference to electronic database: Hickey v Hickey, [1999] 2 SCR 518, [1999] SCJ No 691 at paras 11-12 (QL).
  • unreported (in printed or electronic format) case: 
    True North Land v Hamilton (5 September 1996), Calgary 9601-05486 (Alta QB).

4. If desired or required, after the citation insert the judge's name followed by "J" for Justice, "CJ" for Chief Justice, "ACJ" for Associate Chief Justice, and "JA" for Justice of Appeal, without periods.

5. Provide the full citations of statutes and regulations in accordance with the most recent edition of the McGill Guide. This direction is optional when citing the Alberta Rules of Court. Use the lowercase letter "r' and not the capital letter "R" when referring to a particular rule. Avoid using the phrase "New Rules" except when comparatively relevant.

6. When citing secondary sources such as textbooks or journal articles, use the following format:

  • Book: Lewis N Klar, Tort Law, 5th ed (Toronto, Ont: Carswell, 2012).
  • Journal article: David J Mullan, "Dunsmuir v New Brunswick, Standard of Review and Procedural Fairness for Public Servants: Let's Try Again!" (2008) 21 Can J Admin L& Prac 117.

7. When subsequently referring to a cited authority and it is either necessary to distinguish it from similarly named authorities or appropriate and convenient for readability, create a short name in square brackets (ie. JLH v RSW, 2017 ABCA 98 [JLH]).

8. The print in your written submissions should be 12-point font for all text, including citations. Use one and a half-spaced lines, excluding quotations from authorities or enactments that should be single-spaced and, if more than four lines, indented by at least one-inch margin.

9. The contents of your Book of Authorities should match the authorities cited in your submissions, especially in reference to the paragraph or page numbering. Avoid duplicating authorities referenced in another party's earlier book of authorities and cite to it, when relevant. The Court recommends the use of joint book of authorities by parties.