Legal Research and Writing:  Ted Tjaden


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Legal Citation

Legal citation is a system of rules for how to refer to primary and secondary legal materials (these rules, for example, would require you to put a case name or statute title in italics). In Canada, these rules have been established largely by the Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation (the "McGill Guide"), now in a new 7th edition by Carswell in July 2010 which has largely removed periods or "full stops" at the end of abbreviations, within acronyms or the "v" or "c" in the style of cause. There is no online version of the McGill Guide.
The next most significant source of legal citation rules would come from the work of the Canadian Citation Committee, including The Preparation, Citation and Distribution of Canadian Decisions (2 April 2009), edited by Frédéric Pelletier, Ruth Rintoul and Daniel Poulin and available online in PDF. The work of this Committee has established the use of "neutral citation" for case law. See also the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench Practice Note called Electronic Citations of Case Law and the British Columbia Court of Appeal Directive called Citation of Authorities.
Aside from those sources, there are a number of online guides that provide examples of how to cite legal materials, including:
In the United States, the McGill Guide equivalent is The Bluebook, available online here by subscription. However, in part due to the complexity of The Bluebook, the Association of Legal Writing Directors has developed the ALWD Citation Manual.
There is a free, online "close equivalent" to The Bluebook by Peter Martin called Introduction to Basic Legal Citation.
In the United Kingdom, see the Oxford Standard for the Citation of Legal Authorities (OSCOLA), 4th ed (PDF, 58 pages), with more information available on the OSCOLA website.
In Australia, legal writers use the Australian Guide to Legal Citation (AGLC).
On a related note: I highly recommend Matthew Butterick's Typography for Lawyers (both the website and the book).


Legal Research and Writing:
Third Edition

by Ted Tjaden

Softcover 422 pgs.
Published: June 2010
ISBN-13: 9781552211762

Purchase here

Last updated: 1 February 2013     |    Legal / Terms of Use    |    Ted Tjaden © 2010-2013