The European Case Law Identifier (ECLI) has been developed to facilitate the correct and unequivocal citation of judgments from European and national courts. A set of uniform metadata will help to improve search facilities for case law.
Before ECLI, it was difficult and time-consuming to find relevant case law ............ To overcome these differences and to facilitate easy access to - and citation of - national, foreign and European case law, the Council of the European Union invited Member States and EU institutions to introduce the European Case Law Identifier (ECLI) and a minimum set of uniform metadata for case law.
Main characteristics of ECLI
ECLI is a uniform identifier that has the same recognizable format for all Member States and EU courts. It is composed of five, mandatory, elements:
The elements are separated by a colon. A (non-existent) example of an ECLI could be:
ECLI:NL:HR:2009:384425, which could be decision 384425 of the Supreme Court (‘HR’) of the Netherlands (‘NL’) from the year 2009.