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Foreign and International Legal Materials: A Practical Guide

Main Online Resources

To research EU law, the main resources are freely available online:

 

EU Primary Legislation - Founding Treaties

EU legislation is divided into primary and secondary. The founding treaties, referred to as primary legislation,  are binding agreements that set out EU objectives, rules for EU institutions, how decisions are made and the relationship between the EU and its Member States. All of the founding treaties are available on Eur-Lex, through the Treaties tab.

Since the founding treaties have been amended multiple times, unless you are doing historical research, you should focus on the Treaties Currently In Force, in particular, the current consolidated versions:

EU Secondary Legislation

Based on Article 288 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, the main types of EU secondary legislations include regulations, directives and decisions. 

  • Regulations are binding in their entirety and directly applicable in all EU Member States.
  • Directives set only objectives and need to be transposed into national law by the Member States.
  • Decisions are only binding on those to whom they are addressed.

Through the Legal Acts tab on Eur-Lex, you have many Advanced Search options for EU legislation. For example, you can search by keywords in text, by document reference to the year and number, by date, etc. 

In addition to searching directly for the legislation, you can also browse the subject areas to find relevant legislation using the two options below:

  • Summaries of EU Legislation: The Summaries are short, easy-to-understand explanations of main EU legislation divided into 32 subject areas.  
  • Directory of Legal Acts: The Directory contains all EU legislation currently in force. It is divided into 20 subject areas.

Case Law from the Court of Justice of European Union (CJEU)

CURIA, the official website of CJEU, offers Advanced Search options for you to look for case law by case number, name of the parties, keywords in text, date, subject matter, etc.  

CJEU no longer publishes its cases in print in an official reporter after 2011. To cite to CJEU cases after 2011, please refer to the Court's New Method of Citing Case Law, also endorsed by your Bluebook Rule 21.5.2.