A Very First Neutral Citation

Concluding twelve years of efforts from the members of the Judicial Technology Advisory Committee of the Canadian Judicial Council (JTAC), Justice Fran Kiteley, from the Ontario Superior Court and a former JTAC member, rendered the first judgment using neutral citation in R. v. ANDREW DEL RICCIO, 2010 ONSC 01. Congratulations!

Here are the documents prepared by JTAC which relate to this great initiative:

Cross-posted on Ledjit’s blog.


  1. You mean the first neutral citation for an Ontario SCJ decision, right? Not the first neutral citation decison overall? Or is there something more to the meaning of “neutral citation” in the appearance of the first XXXX ONSC XXXX (CanLII) cite?

    As my reCaptcha reminds me, “today” is “prettier”.


  2. You are absolutely right David, it is far from the first.

    But for me it is “the first of the last court” or “the last court to distribute its first neutral citation”. It was a great day for those of us interested in these small thing. The twelve year mentioned by Dominic comes from a message among JTAC members, because it was twelve years since the adoption by the CJC. However, if one start counting when the Canadian Citation Committee was created in August 1997 to push for a neutral citation in Canada, it is more like thirteen years to go from the initial idea to the complete implementation in the court system.

    It does not come out as a surprise that the last one to come was the ON Sup. Court. This is the most complex court in the country.

    The obvious next step it to promote the neutral citation in all board and tribunals. A large number of them are already using it. I’m sure we can convince the rest to join in.

    Daniel Poulin

  3. I may be outing myself as a huge law library nerd, but neutral citations are one of the great joys of my working life. And judging by the number of times this news was tweeted about by my colleagues, I’d say I’m not alone on this.

    Can’t wait to see more coming from boards and tribunals, as Daniel mentions!

  4. Yes, I agree it was a banner day, hence the serendipitous today [is] prettier.

    Are you in a position to tell us why the Ont SCJ was last, given that CanLII has been hosting its case data base all along?

    I am not going to ponder on the metaphysical question of why the reCaptcha that first appeared was “Justice hotheads” and the third “never clinched”. I couldn’t make out the second.


  5. I think I will abuse the commenting function the week if not the month, but may I take to opportunity to invite everybody on this list to join together to promote the neutral citation in boards and tribunal.

    As Emma said, it is a joy to work with, but more importantly it is a tremendous asset to ensure that the case law of our country will never be captured by one or two commercial enterprise. The idea comes out the US as many good things. However, their country being as it is, it never succeed there. Here in Canada, between our 14 jurisdiction, our two official languages and two legal tradition its adoption went well actually.

    Don’t hesitate to contact me or another from SLAW Frédéric Pelletier if you need more information to start using the neutral citation in your board or tribunal. We will be very pleased to help. LexUM had been committeed to that for 13 years, we can do a couple more.

    Finally, I will leave here my gender neutrality to mention that the ladies played a great role in this success: Jennifer (at the Court of Appeal of BC, the first to use the neutral citation), Anne Rolland at the Supreme Court (when the Court starts using it constitute a second turning point) and finally, Louise Hamel at the Ontario Superior Court (her contribution is obvious, but many other there helps but I don’t name them to not offend their judicial reserve).


  6. Gary P. Rodrigues

    Congratulations Daniel on achieving your goal of expanding the use of the neutral citation. It is something that you and others have pursued with great diligence and success.

    Commercial publishers should welcome your achievement in that it will enable them to easily and accurately identify and add correlative or parallel citations to their case citators, thereby enhancing their value and importance to legal researchers.

    The only down side is that there will be even more citations for every case, but who is counting.