TeX - LaTeX Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for users of TeX, LaTeX, ConTeXt, and related typesetting systems. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I need to write a paper conforming with the blue book standards.

Has there been any move on creating packages that support blue book-style formatting and citations? Or should I get ready to do a bunch of work on my own bibtex and article classes?

If the latter, are there modern alternatives to bibtex? Are there any specific modern approaches to customised article classes?

share|improve this question
In my experience the number of LaTeX users in the legal field (even in academia) is vanishingly small. There is a very powerful alternative to bibtex in the biber+biblatex combination, but I don't think anyone has tackled this particular problem. Legal citations are informationally quite different from other academic citations (even those in the Humanities). But if the standards are well described, it should be possible to create some biblatex styles for them. See bibtex vs. biber and biblatex vs natbib for more information on biblatex. – Alan Munn Sep 12 '12 at 18:26
@AlanMunn Thanks, I will check those out. I'm only using latex because I'm a transplanted software engineer in the world of law. Still amazes me that people use WP software they hate. – Marcin Sep 12 '12 at 18:30
One other comment. You're kind of conflating two separate issues in your question: citation/bibliography styles are logically independent of document classes. If there are other formatting requirements (such as specific sectioning styles) that are not related to citations, you might want to ask a separate question about that. The answers might be easier to come by too. :) – Alan Munn Sep 12 '12 at 18:30
@AlanMunn Unless I'm mistaken, the Blue Book also lays down some more substantive formatting guides than just citations. – Marcin Sep 12 '12 at 18:31
Yes, I figured that, but from the point of view of the site it's usually better to ask separate questions for distinct issues. So you should ask non-citation related formatting questions separately. – Alan Munn Sep 12 '12 at 18:34
up vote 7 down vote accepted

I don't know of any Bluebook style, and I think I would if it existed. Given the notorious complexities of the Bluebook it would have to be a biblatex project, and it would be quite a project! In the common law world, I know there is a written-and-working-but-unreleased version of the McGill style for Canadian authorities, there's a partially compete Australian style, and there's an English style based on OSCOLA, which is on CTAN. None of them is Bluebook conformant. The one that I think is closest to complete (which is OSCOLA -- but (disclaimer!) I wrote it so I suffer parental bias) might provide a start -- but it would only be a sort of "inspiration" start, rather than a "much of the legwork is done" start: also it's hardly a stable package.

Implementation of a subset of the Bluebook (say books, articles, cases and perhaps the Constitution and USC) wouldn't probably be too much of a struggle. Implementing the whole thing would be a mammoth task. How mammoth would depend on how far you sought to automate things like abbreviations, cite signals, citation order and the like.

share|improve this answer
Thanks very much. I'll take a look. I'm looking at this for a specific paper, which will probably reference articles, US statutes, US cases, non-US cases, non-US statutes, and arbitration awards. Whatever I produce will probably only deal with those. – Marcin Sep 12 '12 at 19:03
If I can help in any way, I'd be happy to. Just a warning: I discovered my email in the OSCOLA documentation is wrong! Just pstanley not p.stanley. What a typo ... – Paul Stanley Sep 12 '12 at 19:10
Thank you! I'll tackle the issue, then let you know if I have any questions. – Marcin Sep 12 '12 at 19:18
In the end...I just used Word, and did the citations by hand. Ho hum. – Marcin Sep 19 '13 at 21:10
@PaulStanley -- Do you have any more information regarding the status of the McGill style? I have begun to write a McGill style for my own needs, but it is very much ad hoc and therefore incomplete. – jon Nov 29 '15 at 22:50

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.