Canadian Legal Research

This guide details researching Canadian law at the federal and provincial level.

Abbreviations, Acronyms & Citations

Canadian Legal Abbreviations & Acronyms

Use the tools described below to help you decipher unfamiliar Canadian legal abbreviations and acronyms.

Index to Legal Citations and Abbreviations, (4th ed.) REF K85 .R3 2013 
This index offers the broadest geographic coverage of legal abbreviations and acronyms, including those used in Canada and other common law jurisdictions, as well as those used in civil law jurisdictions in Europe.  It also provides disambiguation for identical abbreviations used in Canada and in other Commonwealth nations that were formerly part of the British Empire.

Prince's Dictionary of Legal Abbreviations (7th ed.) REF KF246 .B46 2017
This index includes abbreviations and acronyms for nearly 36,000 terms used in legal encyclopedias, law dictionaries, law reports, law reviews and journals, legal treatises, and legal reference books.  

Cardiff Index to Legal Abbreviations
This free, Web-based resource covers legal abbreviations used in Canada, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and other Commonwealth jurisdictions, as well as the United States.  Search by abbreviation to locate the title of the corresponding publication or search by title to determine the correct abbreviation for a specific publication.

Citations to Canadian Law

For guidance with U.S.-formatted citations to Canadian law, consult The Bluebook.  For guidance with Canadian-formatted citations, consult the Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation (also known as the McGill Guide).

The Bluebook (20th ed.) KF245 .U5 2020
Rule 20 provides general guidelines for citing foreign legal materials.  Table 2.6 covers citations to Canadian cases, constitutions, statutes, and regulations, both federal and provincial.  Note that Table 2 of The Bluebook (covering foreign jurisdictions) is now free to access online.  A subscription is required to access other Bluebook content online.

Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation (8th ed.) REF KE259 .C25 2014
Manuel Canadien de Référence Juridique
Also known as the McGill Guide, this bilingual Canadian equivalent of The Bluebook is the most widely used system of legal citation in Canada.  It has been adopted by most academic law journals published in Canada and by many Canadian courts.