Bibliographic Notices on EurLex: Case Notes
by Edward T. Hart, Acquisitions and Serials Librarian
University of Florida Levin College of Law
Over the last couple of years, access to European Union legal resources via the website EurLex has been undergoing amazing changes. The content includes the publication Official Journal, the daily record of EU actions, with coverage in pdf format back to 1998. But even richer databases exist for legislation and case law with complete coverage of all EU legal instruments going back historically to the European Economic Communities. The EurLex editors have developed detailed bibliographic notices for each EU piece of legislation and every case. These notices list the sources cited by the legislation or case, as well as later legislation and cases that have cited the document being reviewed. Links are provided to the sources contained in the EurLex database. These bibliographic notices provide both a legislative history and a cite check of EU legal resources.
In this article, I would like to point out one of the latest additions to the bibliographic notices. For cases heard by the Court of Justice of the European Communities and the Court of First Instance, the notices now include a listing of case notes from legal periodicals, such as the Common Market Law Review. This feature was available in EurLex's predecessor database Celex but was not carried over to EurLex for technical reasons. The editors of the bibliographic notices are adding them to current cases and retrospectively to past decisions.
The case notes listings provide citations to the legal periodical articles discussing the case. These case notes are typically good sources for explaining the context of the case and its impact on EU law. Unlike the American practice of law students writing case notes, the ones published in European legal periodicals on EU cases are primarily written by established academic faculty or researchers.
A careful study of bibliographic notices for cases, as well as EU legislation, provides a wealth of knowledge. They give the researcher a good starting point and provide leads to further understanding the aspect(s) of EU law.
Word from the EurLex Help Desk and other EU personnel is to stay tuned in for improved services on EurLex, including improved advance searches, and new content such as national legislation.
EurLex is available in English at the url http://europa.eu.int/eur-lex/lex/en/index.htm.