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European Union Research

European Court of Justice

The Court of Justice of the European Union (previously the European Court of Justice, or ECJ) issues judgments and orders interpreting E.U. treaties and legislation.  Cases can be brought by E.U. institutions, member states, and individuals against E.U. institutions; against E.U. member states for failing to fulfill their treaty obligations; and by national courts requesting preliminary rulings on the validity or interpretations of E.U. law. Decisions are binding and take precedence over national laws.

The General Court (previously the Court of First Instance) hears actions brought by member states against the Commission and by individuals against EU institutions. 

Judgments and Orders of the courts can be found:

  • EUR-Lex: Advanced Search options include European Case-Law Identifier, date, parties, CELEX number of the legal act, theme or subject matter, and date.
  • Court of Justice website: News and most recent judgments and opinions
  • InfoCuria Database: Search for caselaw by parties, date, case status, case number, or ECLLI citation. Other search fields include full-text, type of document (judgment, order), subject matter, and references to legislation or caselaw (Treaty, Directive, Regulation, or Decision by citation and year). 
  • Westlaw: Decisions of the Court of Justice (beginning 1954) and General Court (beginning with 1989). (Find the European Union materials under International Materials.)
  • Hein Online: Reports of Cases Before the Court of Justice and the General Court. 1954-current. 


ECLI: European Case-Law Identifier: Standard caselaw identifier for EU and European national court citations. Includes a country code (or EU), the court, year, and number.


Finding Cases Interpreting EU Legislation

Court of Justice Caselaw:

  • Eur-Lex: Document Information with legislation includes "affected by" cases
    • Advanced Search Collection options include Case-Law. Search by CELEX number of the legal act.
  • InfoCuria: Search using the field for References to Case-Law or Legislation. Includes a search by article or paragraph number of the legislation. You can also search by provisions of national law referred to, and by provisions of international law referred to.

European National Caselaw:

  • Eur-Lex: Advanced Search options include National Case-Law. Search by Instruments Cited.
  • Dec.Nat: EU database of national court decisions on EU law. Search by country, provision of EU law (regulation, directive), CELEX number, keyword, or treaty provision.