When starting legal research, legal citations can be extremely confusing to read, comprised essentially of numbers and abbreviations. To understand where the document was published, the court or tribunal that decided the case, and the jurisdiction from which the legal material came you must be able to interpret the abbreviations in the citation. There are quite a few soures that can assist in this process; however, there will likely be abbreviations that are not contained in any of these guides and you are encouraged to come to the Reference Desk in the Bennett Jones Law Library for assistance in this situation.
The McGill Guide provies abbreviation information for a wide range of Canadian, foreign and international legal materials in its appendices which are located at the back of the volume. The appendices are arranged alphabetically by the entry's full name rather than by its abbreviation unless specified otherwise below.
Bieber's Dictionary of Legal Abbreviations (see left column) should be consulted if an abbreviation is not found in the McGill Guide.
There are several online abbreviation guides which vary in content, as described below.
Some books and print sets include an index of abbreviations, generally referring to materials cited in that publication. For example, the Canadian Abridgment has a list of abbreviations used in that set at the front of each volume; including unions, courts, boards, tribunals, law reports and "general abbreviations requiring explanation."
Abbreviation guides may also be found in the reference area of the Law Library (call numbers KF245 & 246). Bieber's is the most highly respected print abbreviations guide.