Last week, Louis Mirando, Chief Law Librarian at OsGoode Hall, wrote a blog post regarding the future of Canadian legal citation on Slaw. The post is boldly titled Legal Citation: Beyond the McGill Guide.
You are likely familiar with the McGill Guide. The McGill Guide, officially known as the Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation, is a popular citation guide for Canadian legal materials. The guide is published by Carswell and edited by the McGill Law Journal. In its eighth edition, the guide is used by many law journals and several courts.
In his recent Slaw post, Mirando is critical of the McGill Guide and suggests two basic problems exist with the guide: the guide is written by students and published by Carswell. Students may not yet possess the expertise to create a citation guide for practitioners. Carswell, as a publisher, is concerned with an income stream that can only be maintained by price increases and frequent new editions. Mirando suggests in his post that these new editions “are unnecessary and unjustified, lightly sprinkled with gratuitous and often ill-considered changes that fail to advance citation practice, confuse and sow uncertainty and even disagreement among even seasoned legal writers, editors and instructors, and generally make citation practice even less uniform and uniformity more difficult to realize.”
Ultimately, Mirando urges readers to look beyond the guide, “because it is essentially a consolidation of in-house practice at the student-edited McGill Law Journal, it is increasingly irrelevant to the creators and consumers of professionally produced, globally accessed, born-digital legal information.” He highlights the new alternative citation guide recently developed by the Courts of Saskatchewan.
Did you know that Saskatchewan created and adopted a new Citation Guide for the Courts of Saskatchewan in September 2014? At the time, some questioned why it was necessary for Saskatchewan to develop its own guide when the McGill Guide was available. Concerns with the McGill Guide specifically motivated the Saskatchewan Courts to review legal citation and develop its own guide. The Courts of Saskatchewan explain on their website that the purpose of its guide is to provide “a clear, authoritative and standard set of citation rules for use in and by the courts of Saskatchewan.”
If you would like to learn more about legal citation in Saskatchewan, Legal Sourcery featured an exclusive seven part series on the new citation guide: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7