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BUAD 209 Business Law

This library guide will provide you with information to complete your Canadian case law or legislation research.

Legal Citation Standard

McGill Law Journal's Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation is the accepted citation standard in Canada.

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Some Examples

The citation for a case includes the names of the parties, year (in square brackets or round parentheses, depending on the reporter), volume number of the reporter, reporter name, reporter series (if any), first page of decision, jurisdiction and level of court (if not obvious from reporter name).


Acadia Hotels Ltd. vs. Maxine Smith, heard in 1983 by the British Columbia Court of Appeal. Reported in volume 149, page 15 of the 3rd series of the Dominion Law Reports which is published by volume number (round brackets).

Smith v. Acadia Hotels Ltd. (1983), 149 D.L.R. (3rd) 15 (B.C.C.A.) 

Douglas vs. Tucker heard by the Supreme Court of Canada in 1952, published in volume 1, page 275 of the Supreme Court Reports which is published annually [square brackets].

Douglas v. Tucker, [1952] 1 S.C.R. 275

The Queen vs. Zborovsky heard by the Provincial Court of Ontario in 1992. Not published/reported. Found in Quicklaw with the unique number 1723 assigned to it by Quicklaw. Square brackets are used for the year for J decisions in Quicklaw.

R. v. Zborovsky, [1992] O.J. 1723 (Prov. Ct.)

Tjaden, T. (2004) Legal research and writing (2nd ed.). Toronto, ON: Irwin Law.

Reported vs. Unreported

Statutes cannot be drafted to consider every eventuality in life. For this reason the courts must apply the law to specific situations in their decisions or judgments. Judgements that further our understanding of the law are then published in case reporters. These are called reported cases. 

Reporter series compile cases based on:

  • location: B.C. Reports (BCR), Ontario Reports (OR), Federal Court Reports (FCR), Dominion Law Reports (DLR), Western Weekly Reports (WWR)
  • court: Supreme Court Reports (SCR)
  • topic: Canadian Cases on Employment Law (CCEL), Criminal Reports (CR), Construction Law Reports (CLR), Canadian Tax Cases (CTC)

It is now possible to access cases that are not reported/published. They can be found in databases such as Quicklaw from LexisNexis®. Unreported cases found in Quicklaw show the province for provincial level cases and the court for federal level cases, then end in J which stands for judgements (BCJ, AJ, OJ, NBJ, FCJ).

Hierarchy of Sources

  1. Neutral Citation
  2. Official Reporter (SCR, FC or Ex CR)
  3. Semi-official Reporter
  4. Other Sources (electronic services, unofficial reporters, etc.)

"Whenever possible, provide the reader with at least two sources to make sure the information is appropriately identified and accessible. Include as many sources as might be useful."

McGill Law Journal. (2010) Canadian guide to uniform legal citation. Toronto: Carswell.

Neutral Citations

Created by the Canadian Citation Committee, neutral citations provide a standard for court decisions by case name, year, court, decision number, and paragraph numbers.


The Queen vs. Susan Goodhart heard by the BC Court of Appeal in 2000. Ordinal number of decision being 25, referring to paragraphs 5-10.

R. v. Goodhart, 2000 BCCA 25 at paras 5-10

Tjaden, T. (2004) Legal research and writing (2nd ed.). Toronto, ON: Irwin Law. and McGill Law Journal. (2010) Canadian guide to uniform legal citation. Toronto: Carswell.

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