On this page you will find information about the Official Journal of the European Union and how to find legislation.
About the Official Journal
The Official Journal of the European Union ("OJ") is the major source of European Union regulations, directives, and other legislation.
Prior to 2003, this publication was called the Official Journal of the European Communities.
Before 1973, when the United Kingdom and Ireland joined the EU, the OJ was not published in English. Therefore, all pre-1973 citations are made to the French Journal Officiel des Communautés Européenes ("JO"). All legislation in force has subsequently been translated into English in a special edition of the Official Journal.
The OJ is currently published daily in all of the official languages of the EU.
Components of the Official Journal
There are two main series: L (legislation) and C (information and notices)
See the EUR-Lex FAQ page for more detailed information on the various OJ series.
As long as you have a citation to the OJ, you have all of the information you need to look the citation up in the OJ. Citations consist of a date, a series number, and a page number.
|Formats of OJ Citations||Explanation|
|Bluebook citation format: 1981 O.J. (L. 338) 27||1981 [year] O.J. (L. 338) [series #] 27 [page #]|
|OJ Index citation format: 338 27 25.11.1981||338 [series] 27 [page #] 25.11.1981 [day, month, year]|
|Another citation format: OJ L338 25.11.1981 p27||OJ L338 [series #] 25.11.1981 [day, month, year] p.27 [page #]|
|Formats of Legislative Reference Numbers||Explanation|
|Regulation: (EC) 2913/92||(EC) [Community Initials] 2913 [# of regulation] /92 [Year]|
|Directive or other legislation: 93/13 (EC)||93 [Year] /13 [# of Act] (EC) [Community Initials]|
Note that regulations are listed with the year last, while other forms of legislation are listed with the year first. This means that directives, commission decisions, and recommendations can have the same citation! For example, 93/13 (EC) could refer to a directive or a decision. Therefore, you must know what type of legal act you have in order to cross-refer to an OJ cite.
To find an O.J. citation when you only have the legislative reference number, you will need to use an index to cross reference the legislative reference number and the O.J. cite. Several are listed below.
Using subject indexes is the easiest way to find legislation by topic.
When using subject indexes for EU law, you may find that common American law subject headings are not useful; the European legal vocabulary, even in English, can be somewhat different. If you are having trouble locating a relevant subject, look at your secondary sources and determine what language the author is using to describe your issue; try using that language as a subject heading.
Use EuroVoc to find legislation or documentation from any EU institution according to topic.
Use this Directory to find EU legislation that is actually in force by topic.
In addition to the subject directory of EU legislation, above, find subject directories of treaties, case law, international agreements, and other types of documents linked from the EUR-Lex homepage.