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Legal research: Legal Citation and APA

Legal Citation and APA

The APA Publication Manual says: "References to legal materials...which include court decisions, statutes and other legislative materials, and various secondary sources, will be more useful to the reader if they provide the information in the conventional format of legal citations" (2009, p. 216).

The major resource for Canadian legal citation is The Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation (also called The McGill Guide)Camosun Library has the 9th edition, 2018. Call Number: KE 259 C36 2018 at the Lansdowne Research Help desk.  When you are citing a legal source and there is not an appropriate rule in the APA Manual, you should consult the McGill Guide. 

Overview of legal citation:

For your in text (parenthetical) citations, use the same form as you would in APA for a work with no author (i.e., style of cause or case name, date, page or paragraph number when appropriate).

For your References list, use the format given below for legal citation and interfile the citations in your Works Cited in alphabetical order.

Court Cases

Case Reported by the Court with a Neutral Citation

The neutral citation is the official case citation issued by the Court and should always be used for citation purposes when available.

Elements of an APA citation for cases

Format of APA reference (for References list): 

Canada Post v. Lepine, 2009 SCC 16.   

[The Court and date information are included in the neutral citation so you do not add (Court Date) at the end of your citation].

In text (parenthetical) APA citation: 

(Canada Post v. Lepine, 2009, para. 5)   [This example refers the reader to the 5th paragraph of the decision. See APA Rule 6.05]


Case Reported by a Legal Reporter Service

The following citation is for a case reported in the Dominion Law Reports, a print reporter that publishes cases from across Canada.  See a list of other reporters on the right.

Citation elements for case published in case reporter

Format of APA reference (for References list): Name v. Name, Volume Source Page (Court Date). 

Little Sisters Book and Art Emporium v. Canada (Justice), 131 D.L.R (4th) 486 (BCSC 1996).

APA Format of in text (parenthetical) citation: (Name v Name, year, page or paragraph number if needed.)

(Little Sisters Book and Art Emporium v. Canada, 1996, p.3).     
[This example refers the reader to the 3rd page of the decision. Paragraph numbers (if available) are preferred over page numbers]. 

 

Case decision found via Legal Website

Format of APA reference (for References list): Name v. Name, Volume Source Page (Court Date). Retrieved from http://www.xxxxxxx

Canada Post v. Lepine, 2009 SCC 16. Retrieved from http://canlii.ca/t/22zdq

In text (parenthetical) APA citation: 

(Canada Post v. Lepine, 2009, paras 14-15).

Legislation - Online

Citing Legislation from a Service

I found the Adoption Act of British Columbia in QP Legaleze (abbreviated QPLE)

 

Format of the Reference (Work cited): Title of Act, Statute Volume Jurisdiction year, chapter (Service).

Example: Adoption Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c.5 (QPLE).

APA Format of in text (paranthetical) citation: (Title of Act, year.)

Example: (Adoption Act, R.S.B.C. 1996.)

 


 

Citing Legislation from a Government Website

The same Act from a government website.

Search legal website: BC Laws

 

Format of the Reference(Works Cited): Title of Act, Statue Volume with Jurisdiction year, chapter, online:Title of the Website < url >.

APA Example:

Adoption Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c.5, Retrieved from http://www.bclaws.ca/civix/content/complete/statreg/524872423/?xsl=/templates/browse.xsl. 

APA Format of in text (parenthetical) citation: (Title of Act, year.)

(Adoption Act, R.S.B.C. 1996.)

McGill Guide Example (footnote and Authorities page: 

Adoption Act, SBC 1996, c.5, online: BC Laws <www.bclaws.ca/civix/document/id/complete/statreg/96005_01>. 

 

Bills - Online

Bills - Federal or Provincial

Format Reference (Work Cited): Number, title, session, legislature, Jurisdiction, year, pinpoint =chapter (section)(subsection) (additional information is optional), online: Name of website < url>.

Example: Bill 7, Police (Police Complaint Commissioner) amendment act, 2009, 38th Leg., British Columbia,2009,c1(47-49),online:Legislative Assembly of British Columbia:Bills < http://www.leg.bc.ca/legislation/bills.htm>.

APA Format of in text (paranthetical) citation: Title, Bill number, legislature (year).

Example: Police (Police Complaint Commissioner) amendment act, 2009,Bill 7, 38th Leg.(2009).

 

Debates - Online

Federal Debates (House of Commons/Senate)

Format Reference (Work Cited): Title, number (date) pinpoint (Speaker), online: Name of Webpage .

Example:House of Commons Debate, 077 (17 June 2009) 14:05 (Candice Hoeppner), online: House of Commons Debates: Hansard < www.parl.gc.ca/common/chamber_House_Debates.asp >.
*** The pinpoint=14:05 comes from the Table of Contents.  It is the last time given before Candice Hoeppner spoke.)***

APA Format of in text (paranthetical) citation: (Title, date)

Example: (House of Commons Debate, 17 June 2009)

 

Provincial Debates

 


 

Format Reference (Work Cited): Jurisdiction, Legislature, Title, number (date) pinpoint (Speaker), online: Name of Webpage < url > .

Example: British Columbia, Legislative Assembly, Official Report of the Debates of the Legislative Assembly, 40 (24 March 2009) at 14616 (M. Farnworth), online:Debates of the Legislative Assembly (Hansard) < http://www.leg.bc.ca/hansard/8-8.htm >

APA Format of in text (paranthetical) citation: (Title, date)

Example:(Official Report of the Debates of the Legislative Assembly, 24 March 2009)

Courts (Canada)

SCC   Supreme Court of Canada
BCAA   British Columbia Court of Appeal
FCA   Federal Court of Appeal
SCBC   Supreme Court of British Columbia
BCPC   British Columibia Provincial Court

Case Reporters (Canada) and Legal Research Services/Websites

 Abbreviation  Reporter/Service
 SCR  Canada Supreme Court Reports
 CCR  Canadian Criminal Cases
 DLR  Dominion Law Reports
 WWR  Western Weekly Reports
 FC  Canada Federal Court Reports
 CanLII  Canadian Legal Information Institute
 Butterworths  Butterworths Services
 Lawnet  Lawnet
 LexUM  LexUM
 QL  Lexis Advance Quicklaw
 WL Next Can  Westlaw Next Canada
 WL (US)  Westlaw