European Union Research

 ***THIS is an ARCHIVED guide. It may contain BROKEN links. Its value is HISTORICAL only.***

Current Research Guides 

Compiled by Hyla Bondareff, Research Librarian and Lecturer in Law, Washington University School of Law Library, 1998
(updated August 2000)

(The Documentation of the European Communities: A Guide [Call No: Z 7165 .E8 T47 Reserve] is a good source for more information and background.)

Brief Overview of European Union Institutions and Legislation 

European Union legislation is initiated and proposed by the European Commission. The Council of European Union acts on the Commission's proposals and sends proposed legislation to the European Parliament for comment before adopting legislation. The Parliament proposes amendments and holds hearings and debates on proposed legislation.

The different types of EU legislation are Treaties, Regulations, Directives, Decisions, Opinions, and Recommendations.

Treaties are the founding and Primary EU law.

Regulations are laws adopted by the Council from Commission proposals which are binding on all Member States. No national action is needed for implementation.

Directives are also laws adopted by the Council from Commission proposals. They differ from Regulations in that they bind the Member States as to policy objectives but leave it to the individual Member States to enact legislation to carry out the policy.

Decisions are issued by the Commission to individuals or Member States to enforce a Treaty or Regulation. They are binding but have no general application.

Opinions and Recommendations are not binding.


The European Court of Justice ensures that the European Union laws are observed. It is the highest European Union legal authority. It decides cases interpreting Treaties, disputes between Member States and the European Union, and appeals from the Court of First Instance. The Court of Justice can hear actions brought directly before it or Member States may request Preliminary Rulings on matters of European Union law. The Court of First Instance deals with actions brought by individuals and companies against decisions of the Community Institutions and agencies. Its judgments may be subject to appeal to the Court of Justice on points of law.


Where to Find European Union Legislative Documents 

Official Journal (OJ) --The Official Journal is the primary authoritative source of European Union Documentation. It is published daily and is divided into Parts (or Series): 

Part C -- Information and Notices 

Contains summaries and notices of judgments of the Court of Justice and the Court of First Instance; questions, opinions, minutes of proceedings, and adopted resolutions of the European Parliament; Commission proposals (COM Docs), and reports.

Call No.: JN15 .036, Library holds 1975-1980

Microfiche Periodicals, Library holds 1976-

Olin: AV Microforms (Level 2)

Part L -- Legislation 

Contains binding acts adopted by the Commission and Council. Includes Regulations, Directives, Decisions, Agreements, Estimates, Exchange Rates, Financial Regulations, Opinions, Protocols, Recommendations, Resolutions, Rules, Budget, Conventions. Temporary acts are printed in normal typeface; permanent ones are in bold.

Call No.: JN15 .0362, Library holds 1975-1980

Microfiche Periodicals, Library holds 1981-

Olin: AV Microforms (Level 2)

Annex. Debates of the European Parliament 

Contains full text of the debates held and of oral questions submitted.

Call No.: JN15 .0363, Library holds 1978-1982

Microfiche Periodicals, Library holds 1982/83 session-

Index to the Official Journal of the European Communities 

Index to Parts L and C. Monthly with annual cumulations. Contains an alphabetical and methodological index.

Since 1984 the alphabetical index has been arranged by keyword and provides a Document Number, an OJ Citation and a Legal Form. The OJ citation has three parts, the first tells you whether it is Part C or L. Make sure to go to the correct year in the Part C or L fiche. The second part of the number tells you which fiche to choose. The fiche header will give you the range it includes, e.g. L280 to L281. If you go to the Contents of the correct volume, your document should be listed. It does not index much of the C Series.


The methodological index gives the OJ citation for legislative acts in numerical order and has a list of cases.

Call No.: Microfiche Periodicals, Library holds 1981-

Contains Community legislation (agreements between the EU and non-EU countries, secondary legislation (created by the EU institutions in carrying out powers granted to them in the founding treaties) and supplementary legislation) currently in force. It is compiled from the CELEX database. Volume 1 is arranged by subject, with 17 general subject headings with subheadings (similar to our digests). Volume 2 contains a chronological and alphabetical index of the acts in Volume 1.

Call No.: KJE920 .5 .D57, Library holds 5th ed. (1984)

KJE920 .5 .D57 Microfiche, Library holds 6th ed. (1985)-


Online Sources 

An alternative to using the Official Journal indexes on microfiche is searching online. The most recent 2 months of the Official Journal are available on EUR-lex). This site also contains legislation in force (though it is currently under construction).


For older issues of the Official Journal you can search the CELEX database on Lexis. CELEX is the official database of the European Union. It contains Community legislation (Treaties, the Single Act, secondary legislation); case-law of the Court of Justice, documents of the Court of First Instance; Preparatory acts; Parliamentary questions; and national provisions implementing directives. It contains the full text of most legislation and Court proceedings and abstracts of other documents.

The short name of the file is EURCOM;ECLAW; the long name is European Communities Law. Click here to go to Lexis.

Westlaw also has the documents contained in CELEX, as well as all of the Official Journal C series, Merger Decisions and final COM documents, in the European Union Materials database (EU-ALL). (The information is also available in separate databases: EU-LEG, EU-ACTS, EU-TREATIES, EU-QUESTIONS, EU-OJCSERIES AND EU-CS.)

Case Law 

Recueil de la Jurisprudence de la Coeur

Official cases of the Court of Justice of the European Communities from 1954 to 1974.

Call No.: KJ .L27 C63, Library holds 1954-1974

Reports of Cases Before the Court of Justice and the Court of First Instance 

Official cases continued.

Call No.: KJE924.5 .R47, Library holds 1962-1966, 1969-

Common Market Law Reports 

Publishes full reports of many European Court cases, U.K. cases, other national and international court cases (e.g., courts of member states interpreting EU law), European Community Commission decisions and other miscellaneous items including draft and newly enacted EU legislation. The last issue of each volume contains a cumulative index of that volume.

Call No.: KJ .C6 C65, Library holds 1962-

Common Market Law Reports: Antitrust Supplement 

Since 1988 covers EU competition law judgments from the European Court.

Call No.: KJE6456 .A7 C66, Library holds 1988-

European Commercial Cases 

Contains selected decisions of the national European courts based upon relevance to commercial dealings.

Call No.: KJC.2044.52 .E8, Library holds Vol. 16(1993)-

[CCH] European Union Law Reporter 

Contains information on the European Union, cases and statutes arranged by subject. Volume 1 contains instructions on how to use the set; Volume 4 contains finding aids, indexes and new developments. Previous years are called Common Market Reports.

Call No.: HC241.2 .C62, Library holds 1961- [current on Reserve]

[CCH] European Community Cases 

Used in conjunction with [CCH] European Union Law Reporter. Contains Court of Justice and Court of First Instance cases and European Commission decisions. Includes a subject index and a case name index.

Cases are cited as: [year] volume CEC page.

Call No.: HC241.2 .C623, Library holds 1989-

Online Sources 

Recent Court of Justice and Court of First Instance judgements are available on EUR-lex). European Court of Justice cases from 1954 on and Court of First Instance cases from December 1989 are also available on Lexis in the European Court of Justice and European Court of Human Rights Cases database (short name is EURCOM;CASES) and on Westlaw in the European Case Law (EU-CS) database.


Competition Law of the European Economic Community 

Call No.: KJE6456 .V36 1988

Completing the Internal Market of the European Community: Basic Work 

Contains the text of all Proposals for Directives, the text of all Directives, Regulations, Decisions, and Recommendations prior to 1995.

Call No.: KJE6414.2 1989 .C66

Encyclopedia of European Community Law 

Volume B: European Community Treaties 

Three volume looseleaf containing annotated, full text versions of the basic treaties that established the European Communities. Also contains selected pre-1995 texts of Agreements, Conventions, and Protocols conclude between individual Member States and between the Community and non-Member states.

Volume C.: Community Secondary Legislation 

Ten looseleaf volumes containing annotated, amended and updated texts of Community Secondary Legislation.

Call No.: KJE916 .E53 Reserve

European Union Law Guide 

7 volume looseleaf published by Oceana.

Call No.: KJE949 .E973

[CCH] European Union Law Reporter 

Contains information on the European Union, cases and statutes arranged by subject. Volume 1 contains instructions on how to use the set; Volume 4 contains finding aids, indexes and new developments.

Call No.: HC241.2 .C62 [current on Reserve]

The Law of the European Community : a Commentary on the EC Treaty by Smit & Herzog

6 volume looseleaf on the Treaty of Rome. Contains an article by article discussion of the Treaty.

Call No.: KJ .L27 S62



Bulletin of the European Union 

Monthly announcements of European Community developments. Contains references to the Official Journal and other EU. documentation. Good for tracking all of the Communities activities. Continues Bulletin of the European Communities.

Columbia Journal of European Law 

In addition to articles, each issue contains case law and legislative developments.

Common Market Law Review 

Indexed in LegalTrac and Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals.

EU Focus 

Newsletter with summaries of what is in the [CCH] European Union Law Report, Commission decisions and of recent Official Journal items, and the Courts' calendars. Call No.: HC241.2 .C623

European Business Law Review 

European Current Law Monthly Digest 

Monthly review of major new international and national legislation, summaries of published cases from European countries. Contains tables and lists of new legislation and a cumulative list of international treaty provisions referred to in digested material.

Call No.: KJC30 .E97

European Law Journal 

European Law Review 

Each issue contains an index and tables of cases and legislation. Indexed in LegalTrac, Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals, and Index to Legal Periodicals.

European Competition Law Review 

Part A contains news updates on case law and changes in regulations for European institutions. Part B contains National reports from major trading companies. The last issue of each volume contains an index and it is indexed in Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals. 

European Journal of International Law 

Covers legal dimensions of the European Community's role in world affairs and international trade, decisions of the European Court of Justice regarding international law, and international treaties. Indexed in Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals.

European Union News 

A newsletter.

General Report on the Activities of the European Communities 

Annual report of the activities of the European Communities. Has references to text of Commission proposals (OJ Part C), European Parliament resolutions (OJ Part C), and other EU law. Also contains references to the Bulletin.

Call No.: HF1532.5 .C65, Library holds 9th (1975)-

International Legal Materials 

Indexed in LegalTrac. Full text in Westlaw and Lexis.

Journal of Common Market Studies 

Maastricht Journal of European and Comparative Law 

World Wide Web Sources 

There are many internet sites containing information about the European Union. One of the best is EUROPA), the official server of the European Union. It contains background information on the EU; official documents, including Green Papers and White Papers, press releases and links to other EU sources including EUR-lex) (which contains recent Official Journal C and L series; recent court judgements; Treaties in force; the legislation in force, including the consolidated versions of these texts; and the preparatory texts for legislation); and links to EU institutions.


UC Berkeley Library Web, Government and Social Sciences Web, European Union Internet Resources has links to other web sites; to EU institutions' home pages, press releases and other documents, and many other interesting EU information.