Please wait while we process your request

McGill guide


The Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation alongside with the McGill Law Journal is included into the Faculty of Law (McGill University). The McGill Official Guide allows those people engaged in the legal world to pursue research successfully. At the same time, it provides authors with standardized methods of expressing their intended messages to readers.

The McGill Guide, the 8th Edition, presents the guidelines for referencing legal documents when accomplishing your tasks or writing essays and research papers. Often, the given style proves to be necessary when dealing with the liberal arts where the citation of legal documents is needed. Therefore, we can even speak about McGill creative writing as a phenomenon, which has the right to exist in the world of the legal profession.

Basically, legal citations include two important purposes:

  1. they communicate meaningful data concerning the case’s details;
  2. they give a possibility to readers to find the decision.

Legal citations can reach the above-mentioned purposes being accurate enough.

Taking into account all of the aforesaid, do not forget to follow the McGill official guide if your professor asked you to refer to legal sources in your tasks, essays, or other academic papers. In addition, it is always worthy to look through your task rubric when you refer to non-legal sources, which can require additional styles of citation, for example APA or CMS.

McGill citation guide

The majority of academic papers in the sphere of legal studies demand the usage of numbered endnotes and footnotes for purposes of citation. As usual, endnotes are placed at the end of paper, while footnotes are put at the bottom of each single page.

When you refer to a work first, you need to give a full citation. For all the following citations, it is possible to apply supra or ibid.

Supra: Use Latin word supra in case you cite to the source that already has a complete citation (this method cannot be applied in the case of preceding citation).

Ibid: Use Latin word ibid when you cite to the same source. ibid can be applied after supra or another Ibid.

  1. R v Sharpe, 2001 SCC 2, [2001] 1 SCR 45 at para 24, 194 DLR (4th) 1 [Sharpe].
  2. Ibid at para 25.
  3. Sanjeev Anand, “A Case for Upholding the Child Pornography Law” (1999) 25 CR (5th) 312.
  4. Sharpe, supra note 1 at para 25.
  5. Anand, supra note 4 at 412.

According to the McGill citation guide, students can create a short form of the source. Do it when you cite to the particular source several times, especially when the source’s title is too lengthy. Place the short form in brackets after the first citation. When it comes to articles and books, apply the last name of author for subsequent citations.

One more important rule is to avoid repetition. It is not useful to repeat information from the text in the citations. For instance, if the case’s name is mentioned in the text of your essay, try to avoid repeating it in the citations.

Citing Jurisprudence (Practice of Law)


Name of the Case, (Decision Year), Neutral Citation, [Reporter’s Year]

Volume Reporter (Series) Pinpoint Page, Parallel Citation (Court) [Short Form].

R v Sharpe, 2001 SCC 2, [2001] 1 SCR 45 at para 24, 194 DLR (4th) 1 [Sharpe].

Nowadays, a lot of courts publish decisions together with a neutral citation, pointing out a number of the decision, court, and the decision year. If available, it can be listed after the case’s name. In addition, judicial decisions are gathered and published in case reporters that are organized according to series or volumes. For example, DLR (Dominion Law Reports) are being arranged according to series, while SCR (Supreme Court Reports) are arranged according to yearly volumes.

Citing Legislation

Bills: At first, all laws are considered by the legislature as bills. The given bills should be discussed and accepted by the legislature before becoming enforceable statutes and receiving royal authorization.

Provincial Bills:

Number, Title, Session, Legislature, Jurisdiction,

Year, Pinpoint (Additional Information)

Bill 59, An Act to amend the Civil Code as regards marriage, 1st Sess, 37 th Leg, Quebec, 2004, (assented to 10 November 2004), SQ 2004, c 23.

Federal Bills:

Number, Title, Session, Legislature, Year, Pinpoint (Additional Information)

Bill C-26, An Act to establish the Canada Border Services Agency, 1st Sess, 38th Parl, 2005, cl 5 (1) (e) (as passed by the House of Commons 13 June 2005).

When bills have received royal authorization and legislative approval, they turn out to be statutes and are collected in annual volumes. From time to time, particular jurisdictions gather statutes in a collection known as the Revised Statutes.


Title, Statute Volume Jurisdiction Year, (session and supplement),

Chapter, Section, Pinpoint.

Revised Statutes:

Criminal Code, RSC 1985, c C-46, s 319.

Annual Volume:

Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, SC 2000, c 4.

Citing Articles from Journals

The Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation (the McGill unofficial guide) recommends adding the author’s name as it appears on the article’s first page when citing to journal articles. At the same time, apply abbreviation for the journal’s name where a particular article is published. At last, when you have used a database to retrieve the article’s full text, you may add this information at the end.

Journal Articles:

Author, “Article’s Title” (Year) Volume: Issue

Abbreviated Journal Title First Page

Journal article with several authors:

Rafael La Porta et al., "Law and Finance" (1998)

106: 6 Journal of Political Economy 1113 at 1152.

Journal article with one author:

Charles Toad, “Warty Law: Toad Law in a Frog’s World” (2015) 76 UTLJ 288.

Citing Newspapers

When citing articles from newspapers, cite to the online source or electronic database where you got the article.

Articles from newspapers:

Author, “Title of Article,” Newspaper (Date)

Page or online: <URL>

Moira Welsh, “Abducted boy alive,” The Toronto Star (2 August 2006) A1.

Citing Government Documents

The given documents comprise various sources such as reports from parliamentary committees, legislative debates, reports and documents from Commissions of Inquiry and Officers of Parliament. A legislative body (territorial, provincial, or federal) is engaged in publishing parliamentary documents; all other papers are considered as non-parliamentary ones.

Non-parliamentary papers:

Jurisdiction, Issuing Body, Title, Volume

(Publication Information).

Canada, Royal Commission on Electoral Reform and Party Financing, Reforming Electoral Democracy, vol 4 (Ottawa: Communication Group, 1991) at 99.


Jurisdiction, Legislature, Title, Legislative Session, Volume or Number (Date) at Pinpoint (Speaker)

Ontario, Legislative Assembly, Official Report of Debates (Hansard), 37th Parl, 2nd Sess, No 53 (18 October 2001) at 2819 (Julia Munro).

Citing Books


Author, Title (Place of publication: publisher, year).

Book with one author:

H Patrick, Glenn, Legal Traditions of the World (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000).

Book with three authors: a comma and the “&” symbol are used to separate authors.

Kathleen Stewart, Drew Dowling & Laurie Priske,

How to Survive the First Semester (Oshawa: Thomson, 2004) at 135.

Book with more than three authors: only the first author's name and "et al." are applied.

Joel Backan et al., Canadian Constitutional Law, 3 rd ed

(Toronto: Emond Montgomery, 2003) at 125.

An article in an edited collection:

Gabriel J Chin, “Race, the War on Drugs and Collateral Consequences of Criminal Conviction” in Christopher Mele & Teresa A Miller, eds, Civil Penalties, Social Consequences (New York: Routledge, 2005) 43 at 45.

Citing International Documents

According to the McGill Guide report citation rules, international documents contain bilateral and multilateral treaties, case law from international courts such as the European Court of Human Rights and the International Court of Justice, and a wide range of materials from inter-governmental bodies such as the European Union, the WTO, and the UN.

UN Documents and Treaties:

Today, most UN documents and treaties may be found online. Therefore, it is important to cite to the print version with an optional reference to electronic sources.

UN Documents (Supplements example):

Author (if any), Title, UN Body Res or Dec Number, UN Body and OR, Session Number or Calendar Year, Supp Number, UN Doc Number (Calendar Year) First Page and pinpoint.

Protection of the Heritage of Indigenous People, ESC Dec 1998/277, UNESCOR, 1998, Supp No 1, UN Doc E/1998/98, 113 at 118.


Treaty Name, Parties (if any), Date of Signature, Treaty Series Reference at Pinpoint (Date of Entry into Force and any other information).

Treaty Relating to Boundary Waters and Questions Arising with Canada, United States and United Kingdom, 11 January 1909, 36 US Stat 2448 (entered into force 5 May 1910).

McGill guide bibliography

In the majority of cases, you are required to add bibliography at the end of your paper. According to the McGill Guide bibliography tips, your bibliography has to contain a list of all applied sources, whether or not you cited to them; the given list should be arranged alphabetically by the case name of an author.

It will be better to arrange your bibliography according to categories of sources: secondary sources, international documents, government documents, legislation, and jurisprudence.

When being a student, you should write a huge number of various essays and papers. These papers are not always the research/coursework assignments or capstone projects. Sometimes, students also need to write CVs for a variety of reasons (funding applications, grad school, internship, job, etc.). So, it is worthy to learn more about a good CV format. McGill students will find the following information especially useful.

Every CV has the common components. While the Contact Information is always number one, all other parts or sections have to be presented in such order, which is most relevant to the position you are submitting an application for.

Contact Information

  • Add your professional email, phone number and full name
  • Add edited LinkedIn URL and/or your website
  • Use your best judgment depending on your situation while a mailing address is conventionally included


  • Add any specializations (minor, major), honors work or thesis
  • List all degrees you are working on or already hold


There are a lot of possible ways to arrange this information. General section headings such as “Extracurricular Experience” work well. Although if you have more experience and want to underline it, use headers for your experience sections strategically to incorporate key skills from the job description.

Types of experience to use in headings:

  • Administrative
  • Performance
  • Leadership
  • Research
  • Editing and Writing
  • Marketing and Outreach
  • Sales and Customer Service
  • Tutoring

General options for the experience comprise:

  • Additional Experience
  • Career-Related
  • Extracurricular
  • Volunteer
  • Work Experience


  • In case you speak foreign languages, list them in order of relevance
  • Point out your level of proficiency

Laboratory/Technical/Computer Skills

  • Enumerate lab techniques or specific programs you are familiar with.

Additional Training/Memberships/Certifications

  • Enumerate all active memberships or additional certification you have

Interests & Activities

  • Assure yourself that this section is relatively detailed

If you are going to learn how to write a resume, McGill general guidelines can become helpful:

  • Apply formatting techniques such as uppercase, intending, and bold to increase readability
  • Enumerate experience and education in reverse chronological order (most recent go first)
  • Use bullet points because long paragraphs are difficult to read quickly
  • Avoid templates, boxes, and tables
  • Assure yourself that any URLs, voicemail message, and email address are professional in tone
  • Proofread your CV attentively.

If you want to make your CV successful, it is not just enough to know how to write a CV. McGill students should also know how to produce a flawless cover letter.

There are a lot of ways to present information in a cover letter. As a general rule, your introduction needs to provide some context for your application and also insight into your motivation.

It may turn out to be helpful to finish your first paragraph with a specific and clear thesis statement that explains reasons according to which you are a good fit. At the same time, McGill cover letter writing means backing up your assertions with additional examples and details that connect your background and experience an employer is looking for.

Try to keep your cover letter limited to one page. It means you cannot tell everything, so do not even try to. Instead of that, your task is to synthesize all details, focusing on your application key elements. In this way, you will know how to write a cover letter McGill style.

Students should always be familiar not only with all possible ways of completing academic papers, but those papers that will be of service in their future professional sphere. If you want to look up the tips, relevant for the type of work you are currently working on, you are always welcome to visit the Pro-Papers blog. Also, if you need any help with formatting or proofreading, our specialists are always glad to assist so do not hesitate to address Pro-Papers when your paper needs a professional touch.


Calculate your price

Number of pages: