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European Union Law

Finding EU Law as Currently in Force

There is no hard-copy compilation of EU law in force - no EU code. To compensate for this, EUR-Lex has a sector called EU Legislation. It can be searched using the EUR-Lex search facility or using the topically organized Directory of European Union legislation.

Tracking EU Legislation

COM Documents

  • This is the popular name for proposals for legislation presented by the Commission (“COM”)
  • An extensive collection of COM documents is found in the Preparatory acts sector of EUR-Lex

Founding and Amending Treaties

These are the treaties among the member states that establish the EU and contain the foundations of EU law. The main treaties with preferred sources for citation are the following. A comprehensive collection of the treaties is available on EUR-Lex.

  • Treaty Establishing the European Coal and Steel Community (1951) (often referred to as the E.C.S.C. Treaty), 261 U.N.T.S. 140
  • Treaty Establishing the European Atomic Energy Community (1957) (often referred to as the Euratom Treaty), 298 U.N.T.S. 167
  • Treaty Establishing the European Economic Community (1957) (often referred to as the Treaty of Rome or the E.E.C. Treaty), 298 U.N.T.S. 11
  • Treaty Establishing a Single Council and a Single Commission of the European Communities (1965) (often referred to as the Merger Treaty), 1965 J.O. (152) 1, 4 I.L.M. 776
  • Single European Act (1986), 1987 O.J. (L 169) 1, 25 I.L.M. 503
  • Treaty on European Union (1992) (consolidated version), 2012 O.J. C326/13
  • Treaty of Amsterdam (1997), 1997 O.J. C340/1
  • Treaty of Nice (2001), 2001 O.J. (C 80) 1
  • Treaty of Lisbon (2007), 2007 O.J. (C306) 1
  • Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (2007) (consolidated version), 2012 O.J. C326/47

Finding EU Legislation

Official Journal of the European Union - This is the official daily gazette of the EU and is the preferred source for all legal enactments of the EU. It is usually abbreviated “O.J.” The O.J. is published in parts:

  • L series - Publishes all EU legislation of any significance
  • C series - Publishes important information, notices, and also some legal enactments
  • Annex - Publishes the debates of the European Parliament

A reference to the O.J. must contain the L or C number of the daily issue. Thus, a citation to the O.J. must look like this: 2009 O.J. (L265) 20. The preferred source today for the Official Journal in full text is EUR-Lex.

Finding Judgments of the European Court of Justice and the General Court

Finding judgments online:

  • After January 1, 2012 the judgments of the European Court of Justice are published only in digital format on Eur-Lex and on the Court's website.  A complete description of publication criteria is found on the Court's website.
  • The website of the Court has the full text of judgments back to 1954.
  • Westlaw has the full text of judgments from the beginning (1954) in in a database called European Union Cases.
  • Lexis has a file called EUR-Lex European Union Cases and another file called European Court of Justice Cases Selected by Butterworths

 

Finding National Implementing Measures

Tips on finding national implementing measures:

  • EU directives have to be implemented in member-state law by legislation
  • On EUR-Lex, look under National law for National Transposition Measures, which includes a search facility.