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European Legal Research - The Basics

Ways to find EU law; scholarship about about EU law; information on the EU legal system; and materials (including cases) on human rights in Europe.

About This Guide

This guide is designed for students studying European Union Law at the University of San Francisco. The focus is on the European Union, but there is also a brief section on human hights that deals primarily with the Council of Europe system and the European Court of Human Rights.

This guide emphasizes internet, Lexis, and Westlaw resources. The guides listed below in the "Learning More about European Legal Research" section have more detailed research advice and list additional research resources.

For advice specific to your research, speak to a librarian at the Zief Law Library Research Desk, or call 415-422-6773.

Where to Begin?

One useful way to start your European Union research is to look first for relevant scholarly books and articles. Good books and articles will supply you with introductions to and overviews and analyses of the law. They will also give you citations to treaty provisions, regulations, directives, decisions, case law, etc.

Learning About the European Union - Web Sites

These sites have good background about the EU and its legal system.

Learning About the EU - Books

These books — all introductory study guides for law students — will get you off to a quick start in understanding the European Union and its legal system. See the "Books" page of this guide for more book suggestions, and for tips on finding books.

Major Official European Union Web Sites

These are sites for the European Union as a whole, for some of its constituent bodies, and for its laws and legislation.

European Union Materials on Westlaw Generally

Westlaw has extensive collections of European legal materials. Some of the major sources for legislation and case law are covered and linked to in this guide.

European Union Materials on Lexis Generally

Lexis's EU materials are now being migrated to Lexis Advance. To get to EU materials on Lexis Advance, follow these steps.

  1. Log on to Lexis Advance.
  2. Open the "Explore Content" box on the home page.
  3. Select the "International" tab.
  4. Select the "European Union" link.

There are two choices: "European Union Legislation and Regulations" (which includes access to EU treaties, on non-law-school plans); and "European Union Case Law."

The interface for these recently-migrated EU materials uses some of the older Lexis.com conventions.

 

Learning More About European Legal Research

For more extensive, detailed advice on researching European law, consult the following sources.

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