While European Union (EU) law is to be applied by any court of the Member States (be it a national, regional or local court), the European Court of Justice ensures that the interpretation and application of EU law is observed and interpreted in the same way in all Member States. Thus, the EU case law is mainly developed by the European Court of Justice.
The European Court of Justice consists of three courts: the Court of Justice, the General Court (created in 1988) and the Civil Service Tribunal (created in 2004).
The Court constitutes the judicial authority of the European Union and, in cooperation with the courts and tribunals of the Member States, ensures the application and uniform interpretation of European Union law. It is a multilingual institution, as each of the official languages of the European Union can be the language of a case. The Court is required to ensure that its case-law is disseminated throughout the Member States.
Since their establishment, approximately 15 000 judgments have been delivered by the three courts of the European Court of Justice.
The case law since 17/06/1997 is accessible in all EU official languages via the court's website. Its database includes the full text of judgments, opinions of the Court, Advocate General's opinions and orders of the EU courts. You can search the database by case number, date, name of the parties, reference words in the text, etc. Furthermore, the database contains summaries of decisions, information on decisions which have not been published in the court reports and notices in the Official Journal of the European Union.
Other relevant case law databases are:
- EUR-Lex , the European Union's legal database: EU case law in all EU official languages, including case law from the period before 17/06/1997.
- JURIFAST by the Association of the Councils of State and Supreme Administrative Jurisdictions of the European Union (ACA Europe), which contains preliminary rulings by the European Court of Justice, and the relevant preliminary questions by the Member States' courts (this database works in English and French).
- JURE, a database created by the European Commission, contains case law on jurisdiction in civil and commercial matters and on the recognition and enforcement of judgments in a State other than the one where the judgment was passed. This includes case law on relevant international conventions (i.e. 1968 Brussels Convention, 1988 Lugano Convention) as well as EU and Member State case law).
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Last update: 18/02/2014