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Common legal citation mistakes

Based on exercises handed in by first year legal research methodology


• Forgetting a period at the end of each citation

• Problems with citing electronic sources: articles from subscription
databases, websites (URL should not be underlined although this
is done automatically in most word processors)
• Not italicizing party names
• For statutes: R.S.C. vs. S.C.
• Knowing when to include the database case identifier (if it’s the
only citation available)
• Not knowing how often to cite (are the party names repeatedly
cited each time they are mentioned) – this is more of a legal
writing issue, will need to consult those guides
• How to refer to a judge’s name in-text (e.g. Justice X)
• When citing the course, need to consult the appendices in the
McGill Citation Guide
• Abbreviations of journals appear in the appendices of the McGill
Guide as well as online in various places (Cardiff Index is usually
• Recognizing the neutral citation and when to cite to it (according
to the McGill Guide, if there is one available, it should be cited