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European Union Legal Information: How to find and use EU legal sources: EU case law

What are the categories of EU legal materials? Where can you find EU legislation and case law? How can you check the status of EU legislation?

EU case law

Case law is produced by the European Court of Justice (or the ECJ) and the General Court (GC) (formerly the Court of First Instance, abbreviated to CFI). Courts in Member States also apply EU law.

Where to find EU case law

Law reports form part of the law collection on level 5 of the Library. A number of series of law reports contain reports of cases from the Court of Justice of the EU (ECJ) and the General Court of the EU (formerly Court of First Instance).

Citation of ECJ/GC Case Law

A case citation referring to the European Court Reports is usually in the form:

Case C-157/03 Commission v Spain [2005] ECR I-2911

Case C-157/03 Commission v Spain [2005] ECR I- 2911
Case Number Parties Year

Abbreviation

(European Court Reports)

Part Page

Citation to cases from other series of reports may follow the standard citation form:

Commission v Spain (case C-157/03) [2005] 2 CMLR 27


These are examples of citations you may see. For guidance on how to reference in your own work, refer to a referencing guide:

Finding EU case law on Westlaw

e.g. Rewe-Zentral AG v Bundesmonopolverwaltung für Branntwein

After selecting 'More' and 'European Union' from the Welcome page, select 'European Union Cases'.

Under 'Document Fields' search for cases using party names by entering these in the 'Parties' box.

Your search appears in the main search box. Beside the main search box, select the search (orange 'magnifying glass') button.

A list of results matching your search will be displayed.

e.g. 120/78 or C-157/03

After selecting 'More' and 'European Union' from the Welcome page, select 'European Union Cases'.

Under 'Document Fields' search for  a case using its case number by entering this in the 'Citation' box.

Your search appears in the main search box. Beside the main search box, select the search (orange 'magnifying glass') button.

A list of results matching your search will be displayed.

e.g. cassis de dijon or minimum alcohol content

You can search for EU cases using words occurring anywhere in the document's text by entering these under 'Find documents that have' in the appropriate box(es): 'All of these terms', 'Any of these terms', or 'This exact phrase'.

Your search appears in the main search box. Beside the main search box, select the search (orange 'magnifying glass') button.

A list of results matching your search will be displayed.

Finding EU case law on Lexis Library

The 'International Cases' search provides various boxes where you can enter your search terms, incuding:

  • 'Case name'     e.g. Commission of the European Communities v Kingdom of Spain or C-157/03
  • 'Search terms'  e.g. cassis de dijon or minimum alcohol content

You can limit your search to EU cases by selecting 'EU Cases' from the 'Sources' drop-down menu.

Finding EU case law on 'Curia' and EUR-Lex

'Curia'

“Case-law” search provides “Case no”, “Names of the parties”, and “Words in the text” fields.

EUR-Lex

Among other options, the “Advanced Search” provides the option to search by European Court Reports publication reference.

Court of Justice of the EU

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