Question: Why isn't it possible to produce a year-only citation for legislation in APA?


I’m trying to cite some legislation in APA, but I only want the citation to include the legislation’s year, not the title and the year.

Here is an example citation:

[…] which was instituted in Example Act 1 (1994).

I just want csl to produce the (1994) part (since I know that csl won’t be able to produce a composite cite—Running the Processor — citeproc-js 1.1.73 documentation, “In some cases, the processor will be unable to produce content for an author-only citation flag, or for the corresponding portion of a composite citation… By default in such cases, the processor will output an ugly slug: (Unauthored thing 1964) [NO_PRINTED_FORM]).”

However, the APA 7 csl produces (Example Act 1, 1994), regardless of whether I omit the author or not.

With other styles, like Chicago, AMA, and MLA, omitting author results in “Example Act 1” being omitted from the in-text citation, leaving only (1994), which is what I’m hoping to get.

Is there an APA rule stating that legislation must always include the title in its in-text citation? If so, I haven’t been able to find it. Without such a rule, it seems to me that legislation would behave like other types in APA csl—that is, when the author is omitted, only the year shows up.

This behavior seems to stem from this line in apa.csl (styles/apa.csl at 8d69f16eb895a419c3d05ef4243817b75e8d9e8b · citation-style-language/styles · GitHub):

<macro name="author-intext">
   <if type="bill legal_case legislation treaty" match="any">
     <text macro="title-intext"/>

When I remove legislation from that list, I get the year-only citation I’m looking for:

Any insight is much appreciated!

Thank you,



APA with legislation removed from the author-intext macro:

This is the output that I’m hoping to get.

@bwiernik is it possible to include legislation titles into the substitute logic instead of as a separate condition? That’d make this work in APA

@bwiernik Any thoughts on the above?