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Is it “Are and smith”? “Rex/Regina and smith”? “The king/queen and smith”? What is the typical convention?

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    I would say "King vee Smith" but I don't consider my answer authoritative as I don't practice regularly in monarchies.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Nov 7, 2023 at 21:49
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    @ohwilleke Where does "King" come from? Is "R" a standard abbreviation in British citations (apparently from the Latin)? Is this question specific to the UK (if so, add the united-kingdom tag).
    – Barmar
    Commented Nov 8, 2023 at 16:10
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    Wikipedia has, but without citation: "Criminal cases are pronounced with against. For example, R v Smith would be pronounced "the Crown against Smith".[3] The Latin words Rex, Regina, and versus are all rendered into English." In particular this means that "the Crown" is also a possible rendering of "R". See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Case_citation#Commonwealth_pronunciation Commented Nov 8, 2023 at 16:34
  • @Barmar The abbreviation R. is not limited to the United Kingdom. It applies in every country with a monarchy, constitutional or otherwise. For example, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. I don't know if this appreciation is used in non-English speaking monarchies, but it would be a reasonable way to translate the local language into English.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Nov 8, 2023 at 16:39
  • I guess you had meant abbreviation not appreciation. Commented Nov 9, 2023 at 23:26

3 Answers 3

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It varies. See Wikipedia: Case citation - Pronunciation of case titles: "When case titles are read out loud, the v can be pronounced, depending on the context, as and, against, versus, or vee." And "[t]he Latin words Rex, Regina, ... are all rendered into English."1

You can see how various justices of the Supreme Court of Canada pronounce the "v" (ou le « c » en français) and the "R." when they call the case. Note that even individual justices are not consistent on the pronunciation of the "v."

  • At the hearing for R. v. Smith, 2021 SCC 16, Justice Moldaver pronounced the case as, "Her Majesty the Queen and Mark Anthony Smith."

  • At the hearing for R. v. Smith, 2015 SCC 34, Chief Justice McLachlin pronounced the case as, "Her Majesty the Queen versus Owen Edward Smith."

  • At the hearing for R. v. S.S., 2023 SCC 1, Chief Justice Wagner pronounced the case as, "His Majesty the King versus S S."

  • At the hearing for R. v. Stairs, 2022 SCC 11, Chief Justice Wagner pronounced the case as, "Matthew Stairs against Her Majesty the Queen."

  • For a more complex scenario, with more than two parties on a side, see the hearing of Grant Thornton LLP v. New Brunswick, 2021 SCC 31. Justice Moldaver refers to the "matter of Grant Thornton LLP et al. [pronounced "ett all"] versus the province of New Brunswick and between Grant Thorton International Limited versus the province of New Brunswick."

  • At the hearing for Desjardins Sécurité financière, compagnie d’assurance vie c. Émond, 2017 CSC 19, Justice Abella pronounced the case as, "Desjardins Sécurité financière, compagnie d’assurance vie contre Mariette Émond et autres."

While delivering argument, counsel often just shorten the names of well-known cases. E.g. in the hearing for R. v. Stairs, one counsel referred to "R. v. Godoy" simply as "Godoy" (08:40):

we accept, as this Court found in Godoy and in other cases ...

Another counsel later said (1:01:48):

I'm referring in particular to a decision of the Manitoba Court of Appeal — R [pronounced "arr"] versus R M J T — it's reported at 2014 Manitoba — MBCA 36.


1. This answer was largely drafted to address an earlier version of the question which emphasized the pronunciation of the "v", leading with the alternatives: "Is it 'Are vee smith'? 'Are and smith'?" However, this answer also addresses how the "R." is pronounced, so I will leave it mostly as-is.

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    The OP has clarified in a comment on the other answer that they are mainly wondering how the "R" is pronounced, not "v".
    – Barmar
    Commented Nov 8, 2023 at 16:11
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    @phoog In my experience, the "et al." is rarely spoken aloud, and is pronounced "et" with a short e, and "al" like the proper name "Al".
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Nov 8, 2023 at 16:42
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    "While delivering argument, counsel often just shorten the names of well-known cases. E.g. in the hearing for R. v. Stairs, one counsel referred to "R. v. Godoy" simply as "Godoy" (08:40):" The shortened form is not particular to criminal cases. It is used in almost all cases where one of the litigants is a common repeat litigant likely to be in many case names.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Nov 8, 2023 at 16:43
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    @ohwilleke not only that but even when both litigants are not likely/repeat litigants, I’ve often heard/seen the cases referred to simply by the name of the first party of the citation (typically the claimant), especially in contexts where the case has a landmark significance, is well known, frequently-cited, or is otherwise likely to be clear from just the abbreviated mention. Commented Nov 8, 2023 at 19:29
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    However in criminal law contexts where the prosecuting party is almost invariably “R.”, it’s obviously almost always referenced by the name of the defendant (or, I think… perhaps appellant, in case it’s something like a judicial review or maybe a criminal appeal, although don’t anyone quote me on this parenthesis). Commented Nov 8, 2023 at 19:32
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The Crown against Smith

v is “and” in civil trials and “against” in criminal ones

However, language changes and “v”, “versus”, and “against” are all variously acceptable depending on the age and cantankerousness of the judge.

R is “the Crown”

Again, depending on the formality, “ar” may be acceptable.

Note that “R” is only used in first instance trials, “the King” or “the Queen” are used in appeals and those are pronounced as you’d expect.

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    Again I am led to wonder how this works when there are multiple parties on one or both sides of a case. How does one distinguish the "and" that means "against" from the ones that mean "together with"?
    – phoog
    Commented Nov 8, 2023 at 10:35
  • Sorry, it was totally ambiguous from the question’s framing but this was actually mainly/more about the “R” than the “v”. Commented Nov 8, 2023 at 13:55
  • @phoog that’s actually a good point, and would probably make for a good question if you want to post it. Commented Nov 8, 2023 at 19:24
  • Why would that difference (between first instance trials and appeals) be, Commented Nov 8, 2023 at 22:35
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In the US, you will usually hear this as "vee," even though "versus" is correct. Others have said this, but the reason I wanted to write my own answer is because it is very, very common to hear people say "verse" which is definitely incorrect, but so common that it's usually just accepted. Nobody would bat an eye at "Are Verse Smith," for example.

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