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European Law Institute

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The European Law Institute is an independent non-profit organisation, established to contribute to better law-making in Europe, the enhancement of European legal integration and the formation of a more vigorous European legal community.

Background information

The European Law Institute was founded as an international non-profit association on 1 June 2011. Sir Francis Jacobs was elected as the first President of the ELI. The Institute’s Link opens in new windowSecretariat is located in Vienna, Austria and is hosted by the University of Vienna.

Key objectives

Building on the wealth of diverse legal traditions and cooperation among jurists from different vocational backgrounds, inspired by the activities of the Link opens in new windowAmerican Law Institute, the ELI will evaluate and stimulate the development of the law, legal policy and practice in a global context. It aims to conduct and facilitate pan-European research and provide a forum for discussion and cooperation of jurists – academics, judges, lawyers and other legal practitioners, representing a broad range of legal traditions.

To accomplish its tasks, ELI operates on its own initiative. It is also, however, available for consultation by institutions involved in the development of law on a European, international or national level.


The Institute brings together not only scholars, but also practitioners and judges from the whole of Europe.

There are two categories of Members: Fellows, who participate in the Institute’s activities on the basis of their own personal and professional convictions, and non-voting Observers, who may be either individuals or legal entities (Institutional Observers), such as European institutions, national authorities or professional legal organizations.

It will be open to Members to propose projects on which the Institute should work, to comment on projects as they develop and to take part in the ELI General Assembly.


ELI projects will cover all branches of the law: substantive and procedural; private and public. Any project carried out under the auspices of the ELI must be at the service of the European citizen, responding to a manifest practical need and aiming at results that potentially have immediate practical impact. In order to be endorsed ELI’s projects need to be approved by a broad constituency of jurists who work independently and without regard to the interests of particular stakeholders or constraints of a political nature.

The first two projects undertaken by ELI addressed the European Commission’s proposal on a Common European Sales Law and the Case overload at the European Court of Human Rights. Further projects that have already been put on track address issues of criminal law, administrative procedural law, tax law and data protection.

Related links

Link opens in new windowEuropean Law Institute (ELI)

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Last update: 18/02/2014