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Researching European Law — Basic Resources

This guide is designed for students in European Union Law classes at the University of San Francisco. The focus is on the European Union, but there is also a brief section on the European Court of Human Rights.

Because USF's Zief Law Library has a relatively small selection of print materials on the EU, this guide emphasizes the web, Lexis, and Westlaw. The materials in the final section "Learning More about European Legal Research," have more research advice and resources.

[Members of the USF community: for advice specific to your research, speak to a librarian at the Zief Law Library Reference Desk, or call 415-422-6773.]

Research Strategy: A useful strategy for European Union research is to look first for relevant scholarly books and articles with introductions, overviews, analyses, and citations to pertinent treaty provisions, regulations, directives, decisions, case law, etc. Section 4 of this guide discusses ways to find useful books and articles.

1. Finding Background: European Union & European Human Rights

For basic background on the institutions and law of the European Union, and on the European Convention of Human Rights, start with the following books and web sites. To find other books not listed here, search Ignacio (http://ignacio.usfca.edu/) by subject "Law—European Union Countries" or by subject "Human—Rights Europe."

European Union—Web Resources
European Union—Brief Introductions
  • Karen Davies, Understanding European Union Law, 3d ed. (Abingdon, Oxon [England]; New York: Routledge-Cavendish, 2007) KJE949.D382007 Law Stacks

  • Trevor C. Hartley, European Union Law in a Global Context: Text, Cases, and Materials (Cambridge, UK; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004) KJE947.H3682004 Law Stacks

  • Trevor C. Hartley, The Foundations of European Community Law: An Introduction to the Constitutional and Administrative Law of the European Community, 6th ed. (Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, c2007) KJE947.H332007 Law Stacks

  • Philip Marc Raworth, Introduction to the Legal System of the European Union (Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.: Oceana Publications, 2001) KJE947.R392001 Law Stacks

  • Norbert Reich, Understanding EU Law: Objectives, Principles and Methods of Community Law (Antwerp; New York: Intersentia; Ardsley, N.Y: distribution for North America, Transnational Publishers, c2003) KJE947.R452003 Law Stacks

  • John Van Oudenaren, Uniting Europe: An Introduction to the European Union, 2d ed. (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, c2005) HC241.V352 2005 Law Stacks

European Union—Treatises and Encyclopedias
  • Hans Smit & Peter E. Herzog, Smit & Herzog on the law of the European Union (Newark, NJ: LexisNexis Matthew Bender, c2005-) KJE947.S64 Law Stacks. Four volumes, organized by articles of the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty Establishing the European Community. The authoritative treatise on European Union law.

  • Encyclopedia of European Union Law (London: Sweet & Maxwell, 1996-) KJE4442.3.E5 Law Stacks. Reproduces key treaties and other primary texts with brief introductions. Covers treaties, institutions, ancillary texts, Union pillars.

  • A.G. Toth, The Oxford Encyclopaedia of European Community Law (Oxford, England: Clarendon Press; New York: Oxford University Press, 1990-) KJE926.T67 Law Reference. Brief essays with suggestions for further reading. Volume 1 covers "institutional law." Volume 2 covers "law of the internal market."

  • European Union Law Reporter (London, England: Sweet & Maxwell, 2001-) KJE925.6.C65 Law Stacks. Volumes 1 to 3 contain commentary on EU law.

Human Rights in Europe—Brief Introductions
  • European Court of Human Rights, "The Court" (http://www.echr.coe.int/ECHR/EN/Header/The+Court/The+Court/History+of+the+Court/)

  • Pieter van Dijk, et al., eds., Theory and Practice of the European Convention on Human Rights, 4th ed. (Antwerpen: Intersentia, c2006) KJC5132.T542006 Law Stacks

  • Donna Gomien, Short Guide to the European Convention on Human Rights, 3d ed. (Strasbourg: Council of Europe Pub., c2005) KJC5132.G662005 Law Stacks

  • Clare Ovey & Robin C. A. White, Jacobs & White, The European Convention on Human Rights, 4th ed. (Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2006) KJC5132.J332006 Law Stacks

2. Major European Official Web Sites

3. European Law on Lexis & Westlaw

Lexis and Westlaw both have extensive collections of European legal materials.

Lexis

Follow this path in the "Legal" tab of the "Look for a Source" directory:

Find Laws by Country or Region > European Union.
(Note especially the folders for Treaties & International Agreements, Case Law, and Legislation & Regulations)
Westlaw

Select the "Directory" link, then follow the path:

International⁄Worldwide Materials > European Union
(At the bottom of screen, note especially the folders for: Cases; Legislation; and Regulations.)

Westlaw's European Union Tab offers a basic selection of materials. To display the tab, select "Add⁄Remove Tabs," scroll down to "Westlaw International," and select the "European Union" link. This Tab gives a choice of searching one or more of: European Union Legislation (EU-LEG); European Union Cases All (EU-CS-ALL); European Union Preparatory Acts (EU-ACTS); European Union Treaties (EU-TREATIES); European Union OJ C Series (EU-OJCSERIES); European Union Parliamentary Questions (EU-QUESTIONS).

4. Finding Books and Articles about EU Topics

Books at USF

To find books at USF, search Ignacio (http://ignacio.usfca.edu) by subject or key words related to your topic. Then, limit your search by words in subject "European Economic Community" or "European Union" (or, for broader results, limit to word in subject "Europ*"). This general strategy will also work in the catalogs of most other academic law or general libraries.

You can further limit your search to the location "Law Stacks" for books at the Zief Library, or to "Stacks" for books in the Gleeson Library.

ECLAS: Catalog of the European Commission Library

ECLAS, the Catalog of the European Commission Library (http://ec.europa.eu/eclas/F) includes citations to over 350,000 books, articles, country studies, videos, maps, internet resources etc. owned or linked to by the European Commission's Library.

Full-Text Legal Articles: Lexis & Westlaw

The United States, Canadian, and British full-text article collections on Lexis and Westlaw will contain articles dealing with European Law.

Westlaw: Journals & Law Reviews (JLR) and United Kingdom Journals & Law Reviews (UK-JLR)
Lexis: US & Canadian Law Reviews (Combined) (LAWREV;ALLREV) and UK Law Journals (UK;ALLJNL)
Full-Text Working Papers

ERPA: European Working Papers Archive (http://eiop.or.at/erpa/). ERPA is an umbrella site for scholarly working papers on European integration from a variety of prestigious institutions, including the Jean Monnet Program at NYU School of Law.

Finding Citations to Articles Using Indexes

Indexes are tools to help researchers find citations to articles. Generally they do not contain the full text of articles, but they do cover more journals and more years than the full-text tools. Those who don't mind taking the extra step to find the text will often find more articles by searching both indexes and full-text articles than if they'd searched full-text articles alone. More information on using indexes for research is available in the Zief Law Library research guide Finding Law Review Articles (http://www.usfca.edu/law_library/finjou.html).

The following indexes are useful for European legal research:

  • Legal Resource Index on Lexis (LAWREV;LGLIND) and Legal Resource Index on Westlaw (LRI). Coverage: 1980 to the present.

    On Westlaw, add the following to your search terms to limit your results to articles about EU law:

    and summary(jurisdiction pre/s european pre/s union or community)

    On Lexis, add the following to your search terms to limit your results to articles about EU law:

    and jurisdiction(european w/s union or community)
  • Index to Legal Periodicals on Lexis (LAWREV;ILP) and Index to Legal Periodicals on Westlaw (ILP). Coverage: 1981 to the present.

    On Westlaw, add the following to your search terms to limit your results to articles about EU law:

    index(european pre/s union or community)

    On Lexis, add the following to your search terms to limit your results to articles about EU law:

    and descriptors(european pre/s union or community)
  • ILP Retro⁄Legal Periodicals Retro (http://www.usfca.edu/library/databases/legalindex.html), 1918 to 1981.

    To limit your results to articles about EU law, include the following element in your search:

    "european economic community as subject(s)
  • Legal Journals Index on Westlaw (LJI) 1986 to the present. "References to or abstracts of articles from more than 430 legal journals published in the United Kingdom and other European countries or covering topics pertaining to the laws of the European Union and its member states."

    Add the following to your other search terms to limit your results to articles about EU law:

    and "ec law" or "eec law" or (european pre/2 community or union)
  • Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals on the web (follow link to IFPL at: http://www.usfca.edu/law_library/lawarticles.htm). Coverage: 1985 to the present. IFLP Leads to citations from law journals published around the world in a variety of languages.

    To limit your results to articles about EU law, include one the following in a key word search, depending on the time-frame you are searching:

    european union or european communities
  • Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals in print, 1960 to the present, K33.I552 Law Reference

  • (at Hastings Law Library) European Legal Journals Index KJC3.7.E97 6th Stacks, 1993-1999. ELJI leads to citations to articles dealing with both EC⁄EU law and the law of member states.

Non-Legal Articles from Gleeson Library

USF's Gleeson Library offers all sorts of tools for finding articles in non-legal disciplines (such as politics, history, and economics) that might intersect with European law. To see what's available, visit the Gleeson Library's "Start Your Research" page at http://www.usfca.edu/library/research/.

5. Finding Primary Legislation: Key Treaties

From the Official EU Web Site
  • EUR-Lex Treaties page (http://eur-lex.europa.eu/en/treaties/index.htm). Includes: Treaty establishing the European Community (consolidated text); Treaty on European Union; Treaty of Nice; Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe. Also has links for "Founding Treaties," "Accession Treaties," and "Other Treaties and Protocols."

  • Europa's Constitution for Europe page (http://europa.eu/scadplus/constitution/index_en.htm). Text of and information about the (as-yet-unratified) Treaty Establishing a Constitution for Europe.

In Print at Zief

Encyclopedia of European Union Law (London: Sweet & Maxwell, 1996-) KJE4442.3.E5 Law Stacks. See volumes 1-3.

European Union Law Guide (New York: Oceana Publications, c1994-) KJE947.E888 Law Stacks. See volume 1.

European Union Law Reporter (Chicago, Ill.: CCH Editions Ltd., c1962-) KJE925.6.C65 Law Stacks. See volume 4.

On Lexis

EUR-Lex EU Law Database: Treaties (EUROPE;TREATY) is the most thorough source. Includes "treaties establishing the European Communities, treaties amending or supplementing the founding treaties and the accession treaties of new member states. Also included are agreements and other legal acts resulting from external relations maintained by the European Communities and by member states."

On Westlaw

European Union Treaties (EU-TREATIES). Includes "treaties concluded between the Member States, which constitute the legal framework of the European Communities. These include the Founding Treaties, Accession Treaties, Supplementary Treaties, and the Maastricht Treaty."

6. Finding Secondary Legislation: regulations, directives, decisions of the Council or Commission.

European Union "secondary legislation" (directives, regulations, and decisions) appears in the Official Journal, L Series. USF law students have access to this legislation via EUR-Lex, Lexis, and Westlaw.

From the Official EU Web Site

EUR-Lex, Portal to EU Law (http://eur-lex.europa.eu/en/index.htm). EUR-Lex includes legislation (directives, regulations and decisions), pending legislation, treaties, case law, direct access to the Official Journal L series and C series from 1998 forward, and more.

The Directory of Community Legislation in Force (http://eur-lex.europa.eu/en/repert/index.htm) allows researchers to browse for in-force legislation by category or topic.
SCADPlus (http://europa.eu/scadplus/scad_en.htm) provides summaries of EU legislation organized by topic. Citations to texts of directives, regulations, and other documents are given.
On Lexis

EUR-Lex EU Law Database: Legislation (EURCOM;LEGIS) includes secondary legislation (directives, regulations, decisions) as well as content from the Official Journal C Series. Coverage begins in 1952.

Sample searches:

For specific directives by citation: title(97/81/EC) and type(directive)
For specific regulations by citation: title(852/2004) and type(regulaton)
For specific decisions by citation: title(2002/811/EC) and type(decision)
For specific Official Journal citations: cite("2004OJL139") [omit page numbers]
To limit a search to directives: "part-time work" and type(directive)
To limit a search to regulations: food! and hygiene and type(regulation)
To limit a search to decisions: "genetically modified" and type(decision)
On Westlaw

European Union Legislation (EU-LEG) contains regulations, directive, decisions, recommendations, supplementary legislation, international agreements from the Official Journal "L" series. Coverage begins in 1952.

Sample searches:

For specific directives by citation: citation(directive and 97/81/EC)
For specific regulations by citation: citation(regulation and 852/2004)
For specific decisions by citation: cite(decision and 2002/811/EC)
For specific Official Journal citations: citation("OJ2004L139/55")
To limit a search to directives: "part-time work" and citation(directive)
To limit a search to regulations: food! and hygiene and citation(regulation)
To limit a search to decisions: "genetically modified" and citation(decision)
In Print at Zief and Hastings

European Union Law Guide (New York: Oceana Publications, c1994-) KJE947.E888 Law Stacks. This extensive guide reproduces selected directives, regulations, and decisions and organizes them by topic.

Official Journal of the European Communities: Legislation (L Series) from 1973 to the present is available locally at the Hastings Law Library, KJE908.O33Ser.L6thStacks.

7. Finding European Court of Justice & Court of First Instance Case Law

For USF law students, the most convenient ECJ case law sources are on Lexis and Westlaw. The Court's site is also useful for searching cases from 1997 to present.

From the Court

Judgments of the Court of Justice and the Court of First Instance are available via a Numerical Access to Case Law page (http://curia.europa.eu/en/content/juris/index.htm) that leads to lists sorted by date and case number.

For cases from June 1997 to the present, a search form for Court judgments (http://curia.europa.eu/jurisp/cgi-bin/form.pl?lang=en) allows searching by key words, parties' names, case numbers and date.
On Lexis

EUR-Lex European Union Cases (EURCOM;ECJ). Comprehensive database of cases for the Court of Justice (1954-) and the Court of First Instance (1989-).

Sample searches:

For specific cases by name: name("national farmers union")
For specific cases by case number: name(27/76) or name(c-241-01)

Also available: European Court of Justice Cases Selected By Butterworths (EURCOM;CASES). Selected Court of Justice cases from 1954 and Court of First Instance cases from 1989 to the present.

On Westlaw

European Union Case Law (EU-CS) (Court of Justice, 1954-; Court of First Instance, 1989-)

Sample searches:

For specific cases by name: title("united brands")
For specific cases by case number: dn(27/76) or dn(c-241-01)
For specific cases by European Court Reports citation: ci("[1978] ecr 207")

Also available on Westlaw:

Common Market Law Reports (CML-RPTS). Coverage begins in 1962. Also includes selected decisions of national courts of EU member states.
European Union Case Law Locator (EU-CASELOC). Summaries of a court decisions including: lists of citations for the case; lists of cases and legislation cited by the case; histories of and citations to the case.
On Fiche at Zief

Reports of Cases before the Court of Justice and the Court of First Instance. Complete coverage on microfiche. Fiche Cabinet 30, Drawer 1.

In Print at Zief

Common Market Law Reports, KJE925.5C75 Law Compact Storage. The Zief Library set ends with volume 50 (1987).

Common Market Reports⁄Common Market Reporter, court decisions, KJE923.7.E97 Law Stacks. Selected cases, 1961-1983; 1985-1986. Continued by: European Community Cases.

European Community Cases, KJE923.7.E97 Law Stacks. Selected cases from 1989. The Zief Library's print set ends with 1999.

8. Finding European Court of Human Rights Case Law

Most USF law students will prefer to search for ECHR case law using Lexis or Westlaw. The ECHR's HUDOC search engine is also useful for finding cases. (The European Convention on Human Rights is available on the ECHR Basic Texts page: http://www.echr.coe.int/Eng/BasicTexts.htm.)

One useful source for finding relevant cases is: A Systematic Guide to the Case-Law of the European Court of Human Rights (The Hague; Boston: M. Nijhoff, 1996) KJC5132.A52S97 Law Stacks (1960-1994).

From the Court

HUDOC: Databases of the Case-Law of the European Convention of Human Rights (http://cmiskp.echr.coe.int/tkp197/search.asp?skin=hudoc-en) is maintained by the European Court of Human Rights. HUDOC is searchable by key word, case title, application number, respondent state, and Convention article. Coverage begins in 1960.

On Lexis

Human Rights Cases (EURCOM;HRIGHT). Decisions of the European Court of Human Rights from 1960 to the present and Butterworths Human Rights Cases (decisions of international, European and English courts) from 1996 to the present.

Sample searches:

For specific cases by name: name(o'hara and "united kingdom")
For specific cases by case number: cite(37555/97)
On Westlaw

European Human Rights Reports (EHR-RPTS) (1979 to the present) (Also includes "selected reports and decisions from the European Commission of Human Rights, as well as settlements and resolutions of the Committee of Ministers.")

Sample searches:

For specific cases by name: title(o'hara and "united kingdom")
For specific cases by case number: dn(37555/97)
In Print

Locally, Hastings Law Library has official reports of the European Court of Human Rights:

Publications of the European Court of Human Rights. Series A, Judgments and Decisions (1961-1996) KJC5138.A3J73 6thStacks
Reports of Judgments and Decisions (1996-) KJC5138.A3J74 5thStacks

9. Finding Laws of EU Member States

On EUR-Lex, the "bibliographic notice " (summary information) for each directive contains a section headed "Display the national implementing measures." In this section, select the "MNE" link to see citations to national laws implementing the directive.

Lexis offers the very useful EUR-Lex EU Law Database: National Provisions Implementing Directives (EURCOM;NATPRV). This source does not have the full text of national laws, but it does contain citations researchers can use to find these laws.

To search Lexis's "National Provisions Implementing Directives" source for cites to laws implementing a specific directive, follow this model:

"Directive 2000/15/EC"

On Westlaw, the texts of directives in the European Union Legislation (EU-LEG) database include, at the end, citations to national implementing legislation.

For more advice on finding the national laws of the EU member states, see the Zief Law Library guide Researching Foreign Legal Systems (http://www.usfca.edu/law_library/foreignlegal.html).

10. Finding News & Current Awareness Sources

The following are just a few sources for finding news of the latest developments in the European Union.

Web Sites & Blogs

Europa EU Press Room (http://europa.eu/press_room/index_en.htm). Includes headline news, recent press releases, press packs on major issues, and access to the RAPID daily press releases (http://europa.eu/rapid/).

RAPID (http://europa.eu/rapid/) database of press releases from the European Commission (1985 to present) a nd of some other European institutions, such as the Court of Justice and the Council of the Union.

"Around Europe" sections of the European Commission home page. The European Commission also has news feeds (http://ec.europa.eu/news/archives_en.htm) on various subjects, including: Economy, finance and tax; Employment and social rights; Energy and natural resources; Environment, consumers and health; External relations and foreign affairs; and Justice and citizens rights.

EuropeanVoice.com (http://www.europeanvoice.com). Internet companion to the Economist Group's European Voice weekly magazine. Some online news is available for free; a paid subscription is required to view content from the weekly magazine.

EU Law Blog (http://eulaw.typepad.com/), covering a wide variety of European Union legal topic.

ECJ Blog (http://www.ecjblog.com/). News and analysis about the European Court of Justice by a Ph.D. candidate from the Netherlands. [Dormant since December 2007.]

Westlaw

European and C.I.S. News (EURONEWS). "News and information about Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), including information from newspapers, magazines, journals, newsletters, radio and television transcripts, and wires. Coverage varies by source"

Lexis

EU News (EURCOM;ECNEWS). A source "for European Union (Community) current awareness" from a variety of publications.

11. Learning More About European Legal Research

For more extensive information on researching European law, consult the following.