Answered By: Lisa Hawksworth
Last Updated: Sep 05, 2017     Views: 1182

In April 2014, the European Case Law Identifier (ECLI) was introduced to facilitate easier location and citation of EU case law across nations. The Court of Justice adopted this system and has assigned an ECLI to all decisions made by the EU courts since 1954. Member States are considering whether to adopt the new numbering more widely.


The ECLI has a number of components. Take this as an example: ​EU:C:2014:317

EU indicates the decision was delivered by an EU Court or Tribunal

C indicates the decision was delivered  by the Court of Justice (T is the General Court, F is the Civil Service Tribunal)

2014 is the year the decision was delivered

317 indicates it was the 317th ECLI attributed in respect of that year.


Until the 5th edition of OSCOLA is published, guidance on using the ECLI is as follows:

Insert an ECLI after the case name and before the law report citation, in the same way as neutral citations are used in cases from the UK High Courts. If there is no report citation, or the case is unreported, use the ECLI on its own. See the examples:

Case with a report law citation:

Case C-176/03 Commission v Council EU:C:2005:542, [2005] ECR I-7879.

Case without a law report citation:

Case C-542/09 Commission v the Netherlands EU:C:2012:346.


See the OSCOLA referencing page for more guidance.


Please note you should always refer to any departmental/school guidelines you’ve been given.

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