The European Commission has recently launched a new major functionality of the European e-Justice Portal. The European Case Law Identifier (ECLI) Search Engine allows citizens, legal practitioners and academics to more easily find case law published by national and international courts and tribunals.
For now, the search engine provides access to 4 million case law decisions from the Court of Justice of the European Union, the European Patent Office, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Germany, the Czech Republic and Finland.
The search engine allows you to search with keywords – use the ‘wizard’ to phrase your search or exclude certain words – or you can search with an assigned ECLI identifier. With the advanced search it is possible to limit your search to e.g. date, language or field of law.
The European Case Law Identifier
The ECLI has been developed to facilitate the correct and unequivocal citation of judgments from European and national courts.
The main characteristics of ECLI:
- ‘ECLI’: to identify the identifier as being a European law Case identifier;
- the Country code;
- the code of the court that rendered the judgment;
- the year the judgment was rendered;
- an ordinal number, up to 25 alphanumeric characters, in a format that is decided by each Member State.
See for an example: ECLI:CZ:NS:2015:32.CDO.2051.2013.1