Skip to Main Content

Canada : legal resources: Case citation

Canadian report series

Main case reporters and abbreviations:

Case reporter    Abbreviation
Supreme Court Reports SCR
Canadian Criminal Cases    CCC
Canadian Criminal Reports CCR
Dominion Law Reports DLR
Ontario Reports OR
Rapports Juridiques du Quebec    RJQ




Federal courts in neutral citation are:

Court English French
Supreme Court of Canada    SCC    CSC   
Federal Court FC CF
Federal Court of Appeal    FCA CAF
Tax Court of Canada TCC CCI
Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada    CMAC CACM
Competition Tribunal of Canada Comp. Trib. Trib. conc. 
Canadian Human Rights Tribunal CHRT TCDP
Public Service Labour Relations Board PSSRB PSSRB

Unlocking Canadian case citations

In 1999, Canadian courts began assigning neutral citations to their judgments (the start date varies depending on the court). The neutral citation is only a case identifier and does not indicate where a case can be found. It consists of three parts:

  • year of decision
  • abbreviation of the court
  • an ordinal number

For example: Arsenault-CameronPrince Edward Island, 2000 SCC 1

Citations to printed/published report series are usually easy to read for those used to English practice eg

R v Seaboyer, [1991] 2 SCR 577 at 590.

Canadian practice is to cite cases by the name of the parties (italicized) separated by "v." (not italicized), year. When the year corresponds to the year of the volume (case for all relatively recent reports), the year is placed in square brackets []; when it does not (for older cases), the year is in round brackets (). If there has been more than one volume produced for a given year, this comes after the year & before the abbreviation for the report series. 

A case citation  ends with the page number on which the case begins, followed by the word "at" and page referenced if a pinpoint is needed.

Had the name of the report series not indicated which court decided on the case, the name of the court must be added in an abbreviated form in parentheses after the citation, before the pinpoint.

Canadian citation practice

The McGill guide in the Law Bod is not the most recent edition. The central box has a link to online guide from Library of University of BC which will reflect more uptodate practice.