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Referencing - UK & EU Law: EU regulation/directive (etc)

How do I reference an EU regulation, directive, decision, recommendation or opinion?

This guidance applies whether you found the legislation in print or online.

legislation type | number | title | [year] | OJ series | issue/first page

Footnote and bibliography:
e.g. Council Regulation (EC) 1984/2003 of 8 April 2003 introducing a system for the statistical monitoring of trade in bluefin tuna, swordfish and big eye tuna within the Community [2003] OJ L295/1

To pinpoint, follow the citation with a comma, the relevant term or abbreviation and a number or letter. To pinpoint several articles (for example), insert a dash between the article numbers:
e.g. Council Regulation (EC) 1984/2003 of 8 April 2003 introducing a system for the statistical monitoring of trade in bluefin tuna, swordfish and big eye tuna within the Community [2003] OJ L295/1, art 4 para 2(a)

Term Abbreviation
article/articles art/arts
paragraph/paragraphs para/paras

Number

From 1 January 2015, the numbering of EU legislation has changed. For all regulations, directives, decisions, recommendations and opinions published after this date, the legislation number is cited as: year/number, e.g. Council Regulation (EU) 2015/159.

For EU legislation published before this date, the legislation number is cited as follows:

  • For directives, the year precedes the running number, e.g. Council Directive 2002/60/EC
  • For regulations, the running number precedes the year, e.g. Council Regulation (EC) 1984/2003.

Title

  • Do not include 'The' at the beginning of the title
  • Copy the title as given in the original document, but...
  • Change any text given in upper case to normal type.

Year

The year is always given in [square brackets].

Official Journal reference

The main source for EU legislation is the Official Journal of the European Union (OJ), which comprises two series:

  • L series - official source for EU legislation
  • C series - information and notices.

Regulations, directives, decisions, recommendations and opinions are usually published in the L series.