< [Prev] [Contents] [Next] >


When dealing with European materials, it is important to distinguish between cases from the Court of Justice of the European Union (formerly the European Court of Justice) and the General Court (formerly the Court of First Instance), and those from the European Court (and Commission) of Human Rights. The former are the judicial machinery of the European Union. The latter come under the auspices of the Council of Europe – a different body with different membership and different institutional machinery. Different rules apply with respect to each.

10.5.1 General form for European Union cases

(a) Background

The European Court Reports (ECR) is the official report series for European Union cases. However, since 1 January 2012 the ECR are published only in digital format, available at <http://eur-lex.europa.eu> or <http://curia.europa.eu>. These are the only publications of the reports to have official status. This has led to a change in citation method for cases from 2012 onwards as the digital reports do not include volume numbers or page numbers. Rule 10.5.1(b) and (c) set out the different methods of citation for cases before and after 2012.

(b) General form for cases prior to 2012

The general form for citing cases from the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) and the General Court (GCE), as well as their predecessor bodies the European Court of Justice (ECJ) and the Court of First Instance (CFI) is as follows:


Case number

Case name


Report series

Page number


Case C-34/89

Smith v EC Commission








Eg Case C-34/89 Smith v EC Commission [1993] ECR I-454.

(i) Case number

Always insert the case number before the name of the case. Since 1989, these case names have been prefixed with either a “C” (decisions from the CJEU or ECJ) or a “T” (decisions from the GCE or CFI). Include this prefix in the citation of post-1989 cases.

Do not separate the case number and name with a comma.

Eg Case 19/84 Pharmon BV v Hoechst AG [1985] ECR 2281 (ECJ).

Eg Case C-422/99 French Republic v Commission [2002] ECR I-4397.

Eg Case C-315/94 De Vos v Stadt Bielefeld [1996] ECR 1417.

(ii) Report series

The European Court Reports (ECR) is the official report series and should always be preferred.

If the ECR citation is not available, then either the Common Law Market Reports (CLMR) or an English report series can be used.

If the case is unreported, the notification in the Official Journal (OJ) may be used. This is searchable online at <www.eur-lex.europa.eu/en/index.htm>. This website will also advise whether a case has been reported in the ECR.

(iii) Page number

Since 1989, the ECR has been split into two volumes. Where present, the volume number should attach to the page number and not the report series.

The ECR I contains CJEU and ECJ cases (“C” prefix) and the ECR II contains GCE and CFI cases (“T” prefix).

(iv) Court identifier

When citing to the ECR a court identifier is not required for cases from 1989 onwards because the court is clear from the volume and case number.

For cases prior to 1989 or where another report series is used, include one of the following court identifiers: CJEU (Court of Justice of the European Union); ECJ (European Court of Justice); GCE (General Court); or CFI (Court of First Instance).

Eg Case C-135/08 Rottmann v Freistat Bayern [2010] QB 761 (CJEU).

(c) General form for cases from 2012 onwards


Case number

Case name

ECLI number

Pinpoint reference


Case C-363/16

European Commission v Hellenic Republic


at [34]–[35]




Eg Case C-363/16 European Commission v Hellenic Republic ECLI:EU:C:2018:12 at [34]–[35].

(i) Case number

Give the case number in accordance with rule 10.5.1(b)(i).

(ii) ECLI number

In 2014, the European Union introduced the European Case Law Identifier (ECLI) to make it easier to identify and locate cases. An ECLI has been retrospectively assigned to all European Union cases (back to 1954). However, these should only be used for European Union case citations for decisions from 2012 onwards; decisions prior to 2012 should be cited in accordance with rule 10.5.1(b).

The ECLI is a code for each judgment that identifies the originating jurisdiction, the court, the year of the judgment and its number. Each component is separated by a colon. For example, the ECLI of the judgment of the Court of Justice of 11 October 2016 in Case C-601/14 Commission v Italy is “ECLI:EU:C:2016:759”.

(iii) Court identifier

Since the ECLI identifies the court no additional court identifier is required.

Decisions delivered by the Court of Justice are indicated by the letter “C” and those of the General Court by the letter “T”.

Eg ECLI:EU:C:2018:27

Eg ECLI:EU:T:2013:576

< [Prev] [Contents] [Next] >