The neutral citation: Using parallel citations and pinpoint references

This article covers how to use parallel citations and pinpoint references with the neutral citation. For information on the neutral citation generally, please see the companion article, The neutral citation: What is it? Guidance on using parallel citations and pinpoint references is taken from the Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation, 8th ed (Toronto: Carswell, 2014).

Parallel Citations

It is helpful to include a parallel citation to a printed reporter when using the neutral citation. Why? While the neutral citation uniquely identifies a decision, it does not tell the reader where to find it.

When using parallel citations, always list the neutral citation first, followed by any parallel citations. Separate parallel citations with commas.

Hawes v Yorston, 2006 NSSC 26, 27 MVR (5th) 299.

Include the year of a reporter organized by year (e.g., Supreme Court Reports) even if it is the same as the year in the neutral citation.

R v Smith, 2009 SCC 5, [2009] 1 SCR 146, 273 NSR (2d) 388, 238 CCC (3d) 481.

Pinpoint References

Include any pinpoint references to pages or paragraphs after the first page of the reporter in the citation. Where possible, use paragraph pinpoints rather than page pinpoints to provide a more accurate reference. It is not necessary to include a pinpoint reference for each parallel citation. When making a paragraph pinpoint, use the paragraph symbol ¶ or the terms “at para” or “at paras” When making a page reference, it is not necessary to use “p” to indicate the page number.

Hawes v Yorston, 2006 NSSC 26 at para 60, 27 MVR (5th) 299.

R v Smith, 2009 SCC 5, [2009] 1 SCR 146 at 152, 273 NSR (2d) 388, 238 CCC (3d) 481.

MacNeil v Bethune, 2006 NSCA 21, 241 NSR (2d) 1 at 17-20.

Saturley v Lund, 2007 NSSC 387, 266 NSR (2d) 144 at 145, 150-152.

For further details about using parallel citations and pinpoint references, please consult the Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation (copies are available at the Barristers’ Libraries in Halifax, Kentville, and Sydney).