By Ann Marie Melvie, Librarian, Court of Appeal for Saskatchewan
and Joanne V. Colledge-Miller, MacPherson Leslie & Tyerman LLP
The Citation Guide for the Courts of Saskatchewan provides guidance regarding references to specific paragraphs within cases and journal articles in print or electronic form.
If you want to highlight a specific passage or sentence from a case or legislative provision, then you need to include in your citation a pinpoint to a paragraph number, or if not available, to a page number.
When pinpointing to a page number, simply put an “at” and then indicate the page number. There is no need to put “p” for the page number. For example:
R v Latimer (1995), 126 DLR (4th) 203 (Sask CA) at 229.
When pinpointing to a paragraph number, put “at para” or “at paras” (without a period) and then the paragraph number. For example:
Farm Credit Corp. v Johnston (1990), 82 Sask R 161 (CA) at para 17.
If you are reproducing a block quote from a decision, however, you can indicate the pinpoint by including it in the body of your quote. For example:
The Saskatchewan Court of Appeal concluded in Farm Credit Corp. v Johnston (1990), 82 Sask R 161 (CA), that a foreclosure cannot apply to a homestead:
 …Indeed, the homestead had been deliberately excluded from the proceedings.
In this way, the pinpoint to paragraph 17 forms part of the quoted text.
Printed law reports have not always contained paragraph numbers. They were added to help the legal profession make the link between the paper and the electronic versions of a judgment. The Western Weekly Reports started adding them in 1991; the Supreme Court Reports in 1995; and the Dominion Law Reports in 1997. The Saskatchewan Reports, published since 1980 by Maritime Law Book, have always contained paragraph numbers.
Pinpointing to a case that has a neutral citation is easy, because the paragraph numbers were assigned by the issuing court. Place the pinpoint immediately after the neutral citation and before the print report citation (if one is available). For example:
Gray v Wiegers, 2008 SKCA 7 at paras 4-6, 291 DLR (4th) 176.
When a neutral citation is available, it doesn’t matter if you’re reading Grey v Wiegers in a print report, on Quicklaw, CanLII, or WestlawNext Canada. The paragraph numbers will be the same in any database. There is no need to indicate the electronic database.
But things are a bit different when pinpointing to a case published before the courts started using neutral citations.
Here are a few simple rules to follow:
If you have a hard copy of the print report, and it does not contain paragraph numbers, cite to the page number. Makes sense.
If the hard copy print report you are referring to contains paragraph numbers, cite to the paragraph number. This makes sense too.
Bank of Montreal v Nevin,  7 WWR 317 (Sask CA) at para 14.
But if you want to refer to a case you have accessed from an online database, be aware that database publishers often add paragraph numbers to cases that did not have them in their print version. In these cases involving decisions published prior to the use of neutral citations, the paragraph numbers assigned by the various databases (including Westlaw or Quicklaw) can vary.
So, if you are pinpointing to a case without a neutral citation, and you have retrieved the case from an electronic source, it is important to indicate the electronic database you are using. For example:
Drope & Co. Ltd. v Pantel (1963), 40 DLR (2d) 455 (QL) (Sask CA) at para 14.
You will notice the print source (DLR) and the electronic source (QL) are listed right beside each other. In this case, you are letting the reader know the print cite, but you are also letting them know you are looking at the case as it exists in Quicklaw. This is a new requirement set out in the Guide.
You’ll want to follow the same practice when pinpointing to an article found in a database. This is explained on page 20 of the Guide.
So what does this mean for you?
It means that if you are pinpointing to a case or a journal article as it exists in an electronic database, unless it has a neutral citation, you must indicate the database you’ve used.
|This is part 4 of a 7-part series on the Citation Guide for the Courts of Saskatchewan: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7|
Ann Marie Melvie is the Librarian at the Court of Appeal for Saskatchewan, having served in this position since 2001. She received her Bachelor of Education from the University of Saskatchewan and her diploma as a Library Technician from SIAST.
Joanne V. Colledge-Miller is currently an associate at MacPherson Leslie & Tyerman LLP, practicing in the areas of commercial litigation and class actions.