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CELEX / EUR-lex: Introduction, Searching, Databases and Sectors

CELEX / EUR-lex: Introduction, Searching, Databases and Sectors

Posted by matt-terrell | 22 January 2010

CELEX – Introduction


The CELEX (Communitatis Europeae Lex) group of databases, on which the CELEX databases on Justis are based, is the computerised documentation system for European Union law that is used by all of the institutions that make up the Union. It was originally intended only for in-house use by EU institutions and EU civil servants, but has been available to the public since 1981.

The CELEX databases include the full text of most documents.

The CELEX databases are updated weekly.

The CELEX databases include many types of documents; coverage of some documents starts from 1951, but others have been added more recently:

Document type Start of coverage
Legislation 1951
Judgments and orders 1951
Treaties 1953
Written parliamentary questions 1963
Opinions of Advocate-General 1965 (full text from 1987)
Oral parliamentary questions 1973
European Parliament resolutions 1974
Economic and Social Committee opinions 1975
Questions at Question Time 1975
Court of Auditors opinions 1977
Parliamentary documents 1979 (July)
Commission proposals 1984 (full text from 1996)

 

CELEX – Databases and Sectors


The following 9 European Union databases are included in CELEX:


Treaties Database

This database contains CELEX Sector 1, part of the European Union’s primary legislation.

Sector 1

The treaties establishing the European Communities, with their accompanying articles, protocols, annexes and declarations, subsequent treaties amending or supplementing them, and the Accession Treaties and successive enlargement treaties.Document types.

Fields for the Treaties database are found in the BIBLIO, Cross References, DATE, All Text and General groups.

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External Agreements Database

This database contains CELEX Sector 2, part of the European Union’s primary legislation.

Sector 2

Agreements and other legal acts resulting from external relations maintained by the European Union, or by the Member States where such relations are connected with the EU. Document types.

Fields for the External Agreements database are found in the BIBLIO, Cross References, DATE, All Text and General groups.

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Legislation Database

This database contains CELEX Sectors 3 and 4, which are derived from entries in Series L of the Official Journal of the European Union, the European Union’s secondary legislation.

Sector 3

Secondary legislation, both binding and non-binding, such as Regulations, Directives and Decisions under the EEC and EAEC Treaties; Decisions and Recommendations under the ECSC Treaty; Council Common Positions, Opinions, Recommendations (EEC, EAEC), resolutions, statutes and rules of procedure of the institutions, reports, and so on. Document types.

Sector 4

Supplementary legislation, such as Decisions of the Member States’ representatives meeting within the Council, and international agreements and Conventions concluded between Member States in order to implement the Treaties. Document types.

The secondary and supplementary legislation as it appears in CELEX corresponds to those acts which are printed in the Official Journal of the European Union (L series) with the exception of those Acts governing day-to-day management which are mainly concerned with agriculture and are valid only for a few weeks.

Sectors 2 to 4 contain all Acts in force on 1st July 1979 and all subsequent Acts. Therefore legislation which was obsolete on or before 1st July 1979 is not included.

Fields for the Legislation database are found in the BIBLIO, Cross References, DATE, NATIONAL, All Text, UKPROV and General groups.

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Proposals Database

This database contains CELEX Sector 5, which is closely linked to Part II of the Official Journal C Series.

Sector 5

Commission proposals for legislation (COM DOCS), Explanatory Memoranda, Opinions on proposals by the European Parliament and the European Economic and Social Committee, legislative, budgetary and own-initiative Resolutions of the European Parliament, Opinions and Resolutions of the Committee of the Regions, Opinions of the Court of Auditors, Council Common Positions, and various preparatory documents specific to the European Coal and Steel Community. Document types.

Fields for the Proposals database are found in the BIBLIO, Cross References, DATE, All Text and General groups.

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Case Law Database

This database contains CELEX Sector 6.

Sector 6

Reports of the European Court of Justice, as published in the European Court Reports by the European Union. Includes all judgments, orders, opinions and other Acts issued by the Court, plus the opinions of the Advocates-General. Document types.

Fields for the Case Law database are found in the BIBLIO, Cross References, Date, Adv. Gen. and Judge, All Persons, Reports and General groups.

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National Implementation Database

This database contains CELEX Sector 7.

Sector 7

References to national law implementing EU legislation. Each member state is responsible for supplying references of its own implementing legislation to the Commission. Document types.

Fields for the National Implementation database are found in the BIBLIO, National Implementations, UK Provisions and General groups.

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Parliamentary Questions Database

This database contains CELEX Sector 9.

Sector 9

Answers to written questions, oral questions and questions raised at question time from members of the European Parliament to the Commission and the Council. Document types.

Fields for the Parliamentary Questions database are found in the BIBLIO, Cross References, Date, and General groups.


OJC Documents Database

This database contains CELEX Sector C.

Sector C

This sector contains documents that have been published in the C Series of the Official Journal of the European Union.

Documents published in the Official Journal from 1995 to the present are included in Sector C. Document types.

Fields for the OJC Documents database are found in the BIBLIO, Date and All Text groups.


EFTA Documents Database

This database contains CELEX Sector E.

Sector E

This sector contains documents from the institutions of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), including Acts in the framework of the Agreement on the European Economic Area (EEA), that have been published in the Official Journal of the European Union.

Documents published in the Official Journal from 1994 to the present are included in Sector E. Document types.

Fields for the EFTA Documents database are found in the BIBLIO, Cross References, Date, All Text and General groups.

 

CELEX – Searching Tips


Here are some tips to help you find what you are looking for in the CELEX database on Justis.

  1. Tracing the development of a document
  2. Searching for a Document Number
  3. Constructing a Document Number
  4. Searching for a Treaty
  5. Using colloquial terms
  6. Publication reference formats
  7. Searching for a Directive
  8. Searching for Directives within a range of dates
  9. Searching for the Directive resulting from a Proposal
  10. Locating consolidated documents
  11. Locating an Explanatory Memorandum


1.   Tracing the development of a document

Directives, Regulations, Treaties and other EU documents go through several stages before they reach their final form. Justis gives you access to lists of documents in the CELEX database that amend, or are amended by, or otherwise interact with, the one you are viewing on the Document screen. Click one of the green JustCite tabs (Court Decisions, Amends, Amended By, Legislative Base, Future Proposals) to see lists of documents, with links to view them.

Selecting the 'Amended By' tab

The information on the green JustCite tabs is based on several CELEX fields, including the Court Decision field, the Documents Amended field, the List of Amendments field, the Legislative Base field, and the Future Proposals field.

Information on the 'Amended By' tab

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2.   Searching for a Document Number

Each document in the CELEX database has a complex, unique number assigned to it.

You can search for a complete number using either the Reference field on the Search In EU screen.

If you do not know the complete number, you can use wild cards in place of the numeric portions of document numbers, but only in the Full Text box. For example, you could search for:   3????R2027.

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4.   Searching for a Treaty

The Treaties are located in the Treaties database, and each of the major treaties has its own letter code that is used in the Sector and Year field and in the Reference field. The codes are:

A Treaty Establishing the European Atomic Energy Community (1957)
B Accession Treaty (Denmark, Irish Republic, Netherlands, United Kingdom) (1972)
C Treaty of Nice, amending the Treaty on European Union, the Treaties establishing the European Communities and certain related Acts (2001)
D Treaty of Amsterdam, amending the Treaty on European Union, the Treaties establishing the European Communities and certain related Acts (1997)
E European Economic Community Treaty (1957); European Communities Treaty consolidated version (1992)
F Treaty establishing a single Council and a single Commission (1965). Treaty amending certain budgetary provisions (1970)
G Amending Treaty (Greenland) (1985)
H Accession Treaty (Greece) (1979)
I Accession Treaty (Portugal, Spain) (1985)
K European Coal and Steel Community Treaty (1951)
M Treaty on European Union, i.e. Maastricht Treaty (1992)
N Accession Treaty (Austria, Finland, Sweden) (1994)
R Treaty amending certain financial provisions. Treaty amending certain provisions of the statute of the European Investment Bank (1975). Act amending the protocol on the statute of the European Investment Bank (1993)
U Single European Act (1986)

To find all of the documents that make up a particular treaty, search for something like:

1????D*

in the Reference field, where “1” indicates the Treaties database and “D” is the code for the treaty.

You can also use the colloquial terms for some Treaties, using the Reference field.

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5.   Using colloquial terms

Some of the documents in the CELEX database have become so well-known that they have acquired one or more unofficial names. You can search for some of these names using the Reference field. Colloquial terms are available for:

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7.   Searching for a Directive

i)  Some Directives become so well-known that they acquire one or more unofficial names. You can search for the recognised names for Directives using the Reference field.

ii)  You can find all Directives by searching for “Directive” in the Document Type field. You will probably want to narrow your search by including one or more words from the Title field or the Subject Matter field in your query.

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8.   Searching for Directives within a range of dates

You can find all Directives by searching for “directive” in the Document Type field.

You can find all documents within a range of dates by searching the Date of Publication field.

Putting the two together, you can find all Directives within a range of dates with a Full Text query like this:

form[directive] and pub[from 1 july 2000 to 31 december 2000]

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9.   Searching for the Directive resulting from a Proposal

If you want to find a Directive but you only have the CELEX document number for a Proposal (for example, 52001PC0532), you first need to find the document in the CELEX Proposals database. To do this, type or paste the document number into the Reference text box on the Search In EU screen and click the Search button.

Searching for a CELEX document number

On the Document screen, scroll down to the Miscellaneous Information field (or use the Outline to jump there), and select and copy the contents of the field.

Miscellaneous Information field in a Proposal

Go back to the Search In EU screen, and search for this text in the Miscellaneous Information field in the CELEX Legislation database. (You will probably need to use Add / Remove Fields to make the Miscellaneous Information field appear.)

Searching for Miscellaneous Information

This should find and display the appropriate Directive.

You can find related Proposals by searching the CELEX Proposals database instead of the Legislation database.

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10.   Locating consolidated documents

The CELEX database does not contain many consolidated documents, but it does contain references to sets of related documents which have been consolidated into one text. These references are contained in the Publication Reference field and include the tag “consleg”.

Those consolidated documents that are present in CELEX can be found by searching the Title field and including the word “consolidated” in the search:

title[“treaty on european union” and consolidated]

Consolidated documents are produced by the Consleg system developed by EUR-OP, and are the result of work by EUR-OP on the transparency and accessibility of legislation.

CELEX consolidated documents are meant purely as a reference aid, and the institutions of the Community do NOT assume any liability for their content. Nevertheless, they provide useful guidance to the current version of a group of Directives and Regulations which have, over the years, been heavily amended.

Creating a consolidated text involves physically incorporating all amendments, corrections, deletions and additions provided in the amending legislation to the original Act. The resulting document is then filed in electronic form in the European document repository archive file EUDOR.

In CELEX Sector 3, the flag “consleg” is present in the Publication Reference field in all those documents affected by the consolidation process. These can be listed by the search:

pubref[consleg]

which, in December 2001, gave 2897 references.

The Publication Reference field gives a reference number to the originating Directive or Regulation. This is in the form of the CELEX document number, but without the initial digit for the sector number, and sometimes with a 2-digit year.

For example:

Document Number 31994L0060
Publication Reference Official Journal L 365 , 31/12/1994 P. 0001 – 0009
Finnish special edition….: Chapter 13 Volume 29 P. 0273
Swedish special edition…: Chapter 13 Volume 29 P. 0273
CONSLEG – 76L0769 – 31/12/1994 – 71 P.

A search for:

docnum[31976L0769]

will supply the originating Directive 76/769 (which will also have the reference “consleg 76L0769” in its Publication Reference field).

Thus the search:

pubref[consleg and 76L0769]

will yield a list of 19 documents, the original Directive 76/769 plus 18 documents which amend it.

The text of the consolidation is NOT in CELEX but can be obtained from EUR-Lex. The consolidated document facility is useful, but should be used with some care.

Note: For sets of related documents that have not yet been consolidated, continue to use the Documents Amended field and the List of Amendments field to find all amending documents.

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11.   Locating an Explanatory Memorandum

For some EU legislation, an Explanatory Memorandum is published in the C Series of the Official Journal of the European Union, and included in the CELEX Proposals database.

One way to locate the Memorandum is to search for a phrase from its title together with the phrase “explanatory memorandum”, for example:

Searching for an Explanatory Memorandum

This will either go directly to the document, or else to a list of matching documents.

A second way to locate a Memorandum is to use the Legislative History (prepwork) field:

  1. Display the legislation document for which you would like to see an Explanatory Memorandum.
  2. Click the blue Outine tab.
  3. Click the “Legislative History” link.
  4. Close the Outline by clicking the blue tab again.
  5. With your mouse, select the reference of a COM DOC.

Selecting a COM DOC reference

  1. In the Document Actions panel, click the “J-Link” button
  2. A new document will appear, which may be the Memorandum.
  3. If the new document is not the one you want, return to the legislation document and try any other COM DOC references in the Legislative History field.
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