Citing Legislation
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Citing Legislation


This video briefly explains how to cite legislation. Before citing the source, you will need to
identify it. You will then know where in the McGill Guide
to look for the proper citation format. Are we looking at a legislation, jurisprudence,
or a secondary source? In this video, we will be citing legislation. So we will need to determine if it is a statute
or a regulation, its jurisdiction, and whether it is revised or annual legislation. A common mistake when looking at a regulation
is to see the name of the enabling statute and identify the regulation as a statute. However, upon closer inspection, we see a
reference to a regulation. In this case, the Pedestrian Crossover Signs
regulation is enacted under the Highway Traffic Act. So we need to be careful to cite this as a
regulation, not a statute. You may also be able to identify a source
if you spot one of these abbreviations. I suggest memorizing these abbreviations to
help you more effectively recognize and cite sources. Here is the example we will cite in this video. As our first step, we identify the source. The abbreviation RSO stands for Revised Statutes
of Ontario. So we know that our source is a statute, and
not a regulation. We also know that it was enacted in the jurisdiction
of Ontario, and that it is a revised rather than annual statute. We then turn to the Table of Contents at the
“Legislation” tab in the McGill Guide. There is a section dealing with statutes. So we turn to page E-23 to see if the “general
form” section will help us. The closest example is the citation to the
Criminal Code, also a revised statute. Note that a statute’s citation includes
at a minimum its title, volume, jurisdiction, year and chapter number. The title is italicised. The word “chapter” is abbreviated to a
lowercase “c” which is not followed by a period. In these examples, there are no periods other
than at the end of the citation. Note also that the Criminal Code’s chapter
number is C-46. We will come back to this in a moment. Because the “general form” section in
McGill consists of typical examples of citation, it is a good place to start. However, you will also need to review special
citation rules that apply to your source. The Table of Contents can serve as a “checklist”
to determine if any special rules might apply. In our example, we note that there is no space
between “RS” and “O”. Further, the alphanumeric chapter number should
be kept as is in the citation, including any dash or period. Recall that the Criminal Code, a federal revised
statute, is at chapter C-46. In our citation example the Ontario revised
statute is at chapter C.43. This dash and this period are part of the
chapter numbers and should not be removed or changed. We now know the information we need to write
the citation, and its formatting requirements. We examine our source and identify the title,
volume, jurisdiction, year and chapter number from the heading. Following the Criminal Code example in the
general forms section, and the special citation rules that apply, we then write the citation
using this information. Remember that the order and formatting of
the information give important cues to your reader. When you follow the uniform citation guidelines,
the reader will be able to find and refer to your source if needed. In our example, the title is italicised, we
included commas after the title and year, we kept the period that is part of the chapter
number, and we added a period at the end of the citation. We also did not simply copy & paste the citation
information in the source. This would not have complied with the McGill
Guide. For example, the source includes periods after
the letters “RSO”, and does not abbreviate “chapter”. So there we are: A complete citation to a
statute.

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