Saskatchewan Courts Make Citation Rules

The Legal Sourcery Blog reported recently that the three Saskatchewan Courts now have a practice directive in place that requires the use of the Citation Guide for the Courts of Saskatchewan.

The purpose of this Guide is to provide a standard set of citation rules for the courts of Saskatchewan. It covers all of the basic citation structures. For citation questions not covered by this Guide, the Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation (the McGill Guide) should be consulted. Where this Guide and other style guides differ, this Guide prevails.

A Notice to the Profession outlines some of the most notable features of the Saskatchewan Guide:

  • An emphasis on the importance of the neutral citation. If a decision has a neutral citation, it must be used.
  • A requirement to identify an electronic source in a citation under certain circumstances.
  • A streamlining of parallel citations. Along with the neutral citation, one print report must be cited if available. If there is no neutral citation, only one print report is cited.
  • A hybrid approach to the use of periods in citations. All periods are removed from citations except those contained in proper nouns, including corporate names or abbreviations of individual names.
  • [emphasis mine]

  • A consistent approach to the use and format of short forms to identify case law or legislation that has been cited previously.
  • A quick reference section, along with detailed explanations and examples of each citation pattern.

The Notice also makes it clear why the project was undertaken:

Saskatchewan has never had a single or standard set of rules for legal citations. Most courts and lawyers have used the Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation (McGill Guide). However, as a result of concerns with the seventh edition of the McGill Guide, a project was undertaken to develop a Saskatchewan legal citation guide. That initiative is now complete.

The Legal Sourcery Blog Does an excellent job of explaining the hows and whys of the Saskatchewan Guide in follow-up posts Part 2 and Part 3.

My congratulations to Ann Marie Melvie and Joanne Colledge-Miller for their work on this clear and sensible document.


  1. Wow – once again Saskatchewan takes the lead!

  2. Whatever its virtues, adding in a new citation source/requirement seems like a terrible idea. As does favouring local idiosyncrasies over national norms in an area which has no necessary local content – and where national norms are actually available! Legal practice has enough things in it that need to be complicated; making something complicated that doesn’t need to be does not recommend itself.

    Although I would have been on board if they’d said: “just cite in a way that everyone knows what you are citing to, with a preference for neutral citations, and beyond that don’t worry about it.”

    In short – undue concern with citation format strikes me as a huge waste of time; adding in a *second* set of formatting requirements to worry about (which periods does Saskatchewan want again?) seems downright malevolent.

  3. I love the “just cite in a way that everyone knows what you are citing to, with a preference for neutral citations, and beyond that don’t worry about it.” approach.

    I would suggest instead though: “cite neutral citation if available, otherwise just make sure everyone knows what you are citing to.”

  4. James – far more artfully crafted. I think we should publish our own citation guide.

  5. I continue to be baffled by the requirement to cite a print report when a neutral citation is available. It serves no useful purpose.