General > User Guide

User Guide

The Centre for German Legal Information website offers you a comprehensive and freely accessible database of electronic materials on German law. Please read the following guide for best usability of all features.

There are two principal ways to access the content of the database: (A) by using the search functions or (B) by using the register functions.

A. Search Functions

I. General Search

The search field at the top of every page is the quickest and most general way to access the database. Type in your searchwords and press enter (or click on the 'Search' button). This search will cover all fields of the database and will return every document that contains at least one of your searchwords (boolean 'OR').

Placing a ‘+’ sign in front of each search term will only return such documents that contain all searchwords (boolean 'AND'). A '-' sign will exclude documents containig the respective search term (boolean 'NOT').

You can search for specific phrases by placing multiple searchwords into quotation marks.

The search can be limited to one of the three main content categories by selecting 'Legislation', 'Judgments' or 'Materials' from the adjacent drop-down menu.

II. Expert Search

For specific search requirements the 'Expert Search' button in the header will lead you directly to the expert search form. This form offers you numerous possibilities to specify additional search parameters. In the main entry field, you can employ '+' and '-' signs as boolean operators (see above).

You can re-load parameters from previous searches by selecting them from the drop-down menu

at the right-hand side of the search form.

III. Search Results

Your search results will be displayed in blue boxes containing the core information of every document as well as the surrounding words of your search query. A click on the button will extend the box and show you more database fields belonging to this entry (e.g. date, author, case number, law category, etc.). To access the document click on 'Get document'. It will appear in a new browser window.

In case a link might not work please click on the button of the affected box. A new window will open and you can report the broken link or any other information that might be incorrect.

In the upper right-hand corner of your search result page you can find the title of all search results in a drop-down menu.

By using this menu you can directly jump to every entry contained in your search result list.

Your can always return to your result list later by selecting the respective search query from the drop-down menu 'Your previous searches' contained in the header of every page.

Clicking on one of the the entries in this list will directly execute the search and display the result list.

In order to narrow or extend your search results, you can either use the ‘back’ button of your browser (or the ‘back’ button at the end of your search result list) or the button. This will take you to the expert search form displaying your search parameters. Click on above the search result list or on ‘Expert Search’ in the page header to get a blank search form.

B. Register Functions

I. Main Registers (Treeview)

The three main registers – Legislation, Judgments and Materials – can be accessed through the menu in the page header. They display the content of the database in 'trees' that be extended by clicking on the '+' buttons.

For a quick overview click on 'open all'.

II. Dynamic Registers

If the structure of the main registers does not fully meet your demands, the dynamic register provides for individual sorting. You can select certain parameters (law category, court, title, date) to get an individually sorted list of database entries.

C. Miscellaneous

I. Email Function

By clicking on the envelope button on the right-hand side of the page header you can email the URL of the current page to any email address. Dynamically generated pages that have no static URL, e.g. the search result page, cannot be emailed (envelope button is disabled).

II. Print Function

The print function (print button on the right-hand side side of the page header) is optimised for Mozilla™ / Firefox™ browsers. It also works - with certain limitations - under Internet Explorer™.