I have to write a seminar paper with special citation guidelines. I thought of using Zotero, but didn't find a similar style. I don't get how I can implement my guidelines, so I hope, there's someone who can help. It doesn't have to be with Zotero, just biblatex is also fine. The paper is in German. So here are the rules for the citation:

For the bibliography:

  • The cites should be in alphabetical order
  • The bibliography should look like a kind of table without the lines, so in the left column there will be the name, in the right column the other stuff
  • The surname has to be italic
  • If there are more than four authors/editors, then the first one has to be named with "et al." (for et alteri (and others))
  • No academic titles
  • Editors has to be marked with the suffix "Hrsg."
  • The court decisions, laws, articles from daily press and cites from the internet should only be named in the foot cites, not in the bibliography
  • If a book has more volumes, then every quoted volume should be recorded separately in the bibliography

Examples for the bibliography style:

  • Essays: Name, First name (Column break) Full title of the essay, journal year, start and end page; E.g. Bernhard, Tobias (Column break) Das grobe Missvehältnis in § 275 BGB, JURA 2006, S. 801-811
  • Monographies/textbooks: Name, First Name (Column break) Full tile, [edition] publishing place year (perhaps specification of the citation style in the foot notes); first editions should not be named
  • Commentaries: Name of the commentary (Column break) perhaps other information of the volume or editor, [edition], publishing place year (perhaps specification of the citation style in the foot notes)
  • Collected edition: Name, First name (Column break) Title, in: Name, First Name (Hrsg.), Title, publishing place year, start and end page, (perhaps specification of the citation style in the foot notes)

For the foot cites:

  • Indirect quotes should begin with "Vgl." (for compare)

  • Every cite should start with a capital letter and end with a dot

  • Name of the author italic

  • Separation of every cite with a ";", with numerous quotes court decicions for literature

  • No references, so if need be the same cite in consecutive foot notes in the same way

Examples for the foot citation style:

  • Court decisions: court source; E.g. BGH NJW 2019, 3385, 3386.
  • Monographies/textbooks: Author name, title, page; E.g. Kleinecht, Verbraucherschützende Gerichtsstände, S. 25.
  • Articles: Author name, journal's name year, start page, page of interest; E.g. Bernhard, JURA 2006, 801, 804.
  • Commentaries/Collected editions: Authors name, in: editor/short title, title/short title, perhaps edition, norm, page number or margin number; E.g. Schlüter, in: MüKo-BGB, § 387, Rn. 4.

I hope I don't go overboard with the citation and examples, but that's how it should look like. I'm a bloody amateur with LaTeX and didn't manage to write my own citation style. So I'm desperate to get the guidelines done. I really don't expect someone to get my work done, and I know there are many guidelines to how to write your own citation style, but as I said, I'm really desperate and have the feeling, that my citation guidelines are completely different from the one's already there... So I look forward to someone to solve this miserable maze.

Thanks a lot, Louise

  • 1
    Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer.
    – Community Bot
    Commented Sep 14, 2023 at 9:45
  • 3
    There may be hundreds of biblatex styles. Just look for one which matches most of the guidelines. The rest can be adapted. You should not "write" your own style (its rather programming), thats a task for LaTeX pro's, because you need to consider very many possibilities etc. If it is a citation style provided by a university or research institute, there may already be a bbx/cbx file out there. If so, it would be helpful to know the name of your institution.
    – lukeflo
    Commented Sep 14, 2023 at 15:02
  • 1
    Please also clarify whether the assignment is to produce a document complying with these guidelines or whether the assignment is to do something else and merely requires complying with them. That is, is the point of the assignment to demonstrate competence with LaTeX/Biblatex etc.?
    – cfr
    Commented Sep 14, 2023 at 15:25
  • Hi, no, the assignment is to write a seminar paper, the focus lays on the content. However it is expected to apply this citation guidelines strictly. That are the standard-guidelines for citation in law-essays (although they may vary a little bit). Unfortunately, I was not able to find a correct citation-style which only have to be changed negligible. There are only few german-law styles and they don't fulfill the expectations of my University.
    – user300986
    Commented Sep 14, 2023 at 18:51

1 Answer 1


Even though there is some evidence to the contrary, questions asking for and answers providing the implementation of a fully-fledged style are usually a pretty bad fit for this site. Such answers take a very long time to write, can be hard to judge for quality (because there are so many aspects) and are not really helpful for other visitors of the site (unless they look for the exact same style).

Instead it is better to focus on particular aspects of the style you need to implement and ask about those separately. That way answers can be more succinct, be judged/evaluated more easily and are more useful for other people. I fully understand though that this is more work for those people who need the style.

The style you describe looks very German-law-y. So you might want to get started with one of the styles of the biblatex-jura2 or biblatex-german-legal package (there are also the older biblatex-juradiss and biblatex-jura, which may or may not work any more). See which of the styles available there comes closest to what you need. Then identify the things you need to change and ask specific questions about that.

  • I think it would be very helpful for other people as well as I know a lot persons who have to face the same difficulties as I am. Furthermore, I spent a lot of time to try to change the existing styles, but there are too many differences, so I gave up. Yes, it is for German-law. I searched the internet for various documentations, but didn't found anything useful. Till now, all the researches consumed a lot of my writing time and now I have stress, because I don't have so much time to spare to solve this problems (as a lot of my study colleagues).
    – user300986
    Commented Sep 15, 2023 at 9:01
  • So we all would be very grateful, if someone with better experiences and understanding can help us, get this bibtex-style. I mean, isn't it worthy to support us non-computer scientists to profit from LaTeX? Your suggestions are not really helpful, because as I said, the existing packages are not really helpful and e.g. the biblatex-juradiss-style isn't available for the latest LaTeX-version and not supported any longer.
    – user300986
    Commented Sep 15, 2023 at 9:06
  • @oramol Oh, I'm fully aware that it is not easy to write a complete biblatex style - especially if one is fairly new to LaTeX. I also know how much time one can spend playing around with TeX instead of doing the actual writing/work on a project. I'd also love for more people in non-STEM subjects (like law) to use LaTeX for their work. ...
    – moewe
    Commented Sep 18, 2023 at 16:00
  • ... But all of this does not take away from the fact that I firmly believe that this site is not a good place for a question that essentially comes down to "please write this style for me". Other people might disagree and may write an answer that does this, but I will not. I am, however, extremely happy to help people on their way to implement a style themselves. I have done so often on this site (and elsewhere) (see for example tex.stackexchange.com/q/426387/35864 and follow-up questions). ...
    – moewe
    Commented Sep 18, 2023 at 16:02
  • ... To my untrained (i.e. non-law-expert) eye, the output that biblatex-jura2 implements shares many aspects (especially those less common in other areas) with the style as described in the question. If you can identify things that need to be changed and ask separate questions about them, I'll be happy to have a look and see what I can do.
    – moewe
    Commented Sep 18, 2023 at 16:04

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