First Ever Citation Guide for the Courts of Saskatchewan, part 6

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By Ann Marie Melvie, Librarian, Court of Appeal for Saskatchewan
and Joanne V. Colledge-Miller, MacPherson Leslie & Tyerman LLP


Have you ever wondered why some Saskatchewan legislation includes a reference to RSS in its citation, while other Saskatchewan legislation contains only SS in its citation? Or, have you wondered why we sometimes use RSC when citing federal legislation yet at other times we use SC?

The Citation Guide for the Courts of Saskatchewan helps you understand the reason for these distinctions. Let’s explore in more detail.

Since 1905, when Saskatchewan became a province, our statutes have been published in sessional or annual volumes. Each volume contains new, amending or repealing acts, as well as private acts that have gone through the legislative process in a particular session or year. Before the age of electronic copies of updated consolidations of statutes, a lawyer had to consult not only the original volume that published the statute, but any subsequent volumes that published amendments to that statute.  To simplify this process, these statutes were periodically revised and consolidated into a set of bound volumes called the Revised Statutes of Saskatchewan (RSS).

In a revision, statutes and all their amendments, as well as new statutes that have come into force since the previous revision are brought together in a set of bound volumes. Any typographical errors that may have been in the previous text are cleaned up, and the revision becomes the official text of the statute. When a revision occurs, it is like taking a snapshot of how a statute looked at that particular point in time. Our statutes were revised in 1909, 1920, 1930, 1940, 1953, and 1965. The last revision occurred in 1978.

So, if a statute exists in the Revised Statutes of Saskatchewan, 1978, we cite to it as it appears there, and use the acronym RSS:

The Automobile Accident Insurance Act, RSS 1978, c A-33.

Note that citations are presumed to be to the statute as amended.

If the statute did not exist in 1978, but was published in a later annual volume, we cite to it as it appeared in that volume. For example, the Personal Property Security Act, 1993, was published in the 1993 annual bound volume of the Statutes of Saskatchewan. It didn’t exist in 1978, so we don’t cite it as RSS. We cite it as it appeared in the Statutes of Saskatchewan (SS):

The Personal Property Security Act, 1993, SS 1993, c P-6.2.

Similarly, federal statutes were last revised in the Revised Statutes of Canada, 1985 (RSC). If we are citing to a federal statute that exists in the 1985 consolidation, we cite to the RSC. For example:

Criminal Code, RSC 1985, c C-46.

If the statute did not appear in the 1985 consolidation, but came into force later, we cite to the annual volume of the Statutes of Canada (SC) in which it appears, as in this example:

Corrections and Conditional Release Act, SC 1992, c 20.

Revisions of statutes are not published as often as they used to be, because we can easily find consolidations on the Saskatchewan Queen’s Printer website, on the federal Justice Laws Website, and on CanLII. But it is helpful to understand what revisions are all about and how they work.

Stay tuned for our final post, which will appear next week.

This is part 6 of a 7-part series on the Citation Guide for the Courts of Saskatchewan:  Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | 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.



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