CELEX Numbers 

CELEX is the documentation system for EU documents produced by the Office for Official Publications of the European Communities (EUR-OP). CELEX numbers are the unique reference numbers assigned to EU documents on CELEX.

On Europa, documents are cross-referenced by CELEX number only. Although JustCite lists cross-references by document title, it is still very useful when researching a question of EU law to be able to interpret and manipulate CELEX numbers in order to extract classes of documents from the database. This is possible because a CELEX number is somewhat akin to a Dewey Decimal number, in that it is more than a simple document serial number; it tells you something about the document’s categorisation.

CELEX numbers are made up of the following component parts:

Sector (1 number) + Year (4 numbers)* + Document Type (1 or 2 letters) + Document Number (3-4 numbers)

For example, the CELEX number for Van Gend en Loos is 61962CJ0026, which breaks down as follows:

Element Meaning
6 Sector Case law
1962 Year The CELEX Year of the document.*
CJ Document Type Judgments of the Court of Justice.
0026 Document Number The sequential number of the document within that Document Type and Year.

*NOTE: Judgments of the Court of Justice on a reference for a preliminary ruling will take as their CELEX Year the year in which the reference was received by the Court, which is unlikely to be the same as the year the eventual judgment was published.

So, we can see that 61962CJ0026 is the ECJ’s judgment in case number 26 from the year 1962.

Some other examples of CELEX numbers are:-

  • 31993L0013 – Directive 93/13/EEC
  • 11957E086 – Article 86 of the Treaty of Rome
  • 91993E1112 – Written question 1112 from the year 1993

A full rundown of Sectors and Document Types can be found in this table. Note that each Sector has its own set of document types. Therefore, in order to parse a CELEX number using the table you must first locate the entry for the Sector and then find the Document Type in the types listed for that Sector.

For a printable guide, click here.