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This guide is intended to be used as an introduction to the sources of information on the topic of European Union Law. It will help you to find treaties, legislation, regulations, e-resources, useful articles, and helpful study aids. As with any research, unless you are already knowledgeable about the topic, it is best to start with introductory resources and then to go on and consult more focused works - moving from secondary to primary resources.
The European Union first came into existence in 1951 as the European Coal and Steel Community. There were six members. Today under a series of treaties there are 28 members and the European Union has become an important and powerful force in the world. Five institutions make up the governing component of the EU: the Commission (proposes legislation and policies), Council (approves legislation but can also propose it), European Parliament ( renders opinions on proposals and sends questions to the Commission), the Court of Justice (enforces legislation), and the Court of Auditors( oversees budgetary matters of the EU).
Secondary sources such as articles and books can provide you with an overview of your subject and help you think of search terms you might not have considered otherwise. They also cite primary authorities such as statutes and cases. You can use these cited primary sources as a jumping off point to find other primary sources in several ways:
- Use a database such as Westlaw to access European Union materials.
- Read commentaries and treatises on statutes to find cross references to other cases.
- Look at the footnotes - they'll provide you with citations to cases, reports, studies and internet resources.
Related Research Guides
For more information please see:
Chapter 3 - Background Research Using Secondary Sources (TMLL Guide to Legal Research)
Chapter 11 - Foreign and International Law Research (TMLL Guide to Legal Research) See section 7 - Selective Sources for Researching European Community Law
European Union Research Guide (Georgetown Law Library)
European Union Information Research Guide (European University Institute)