Official Journal

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The Official Journal (OJ) is a periodical published every day from Tuesday to Saturday inclusive in all official languages of the EU. It is the official compendium of all EU legal acts. The EUR-Lex website gives you direct access to the OJs and their content:

  • The Official Journal link at the far left of the top menu takes you to the direct access page, where you can search for issues by number, series or date. Use this search to consult the OJ itself and not a document published inside of an OJ.
  • Search takes you to the advanced search form with the domain Official Journal preselected. Use this link to look for documents that are published in the OJ.
  • Legally-binding print editions takes you to a page where you can see the list of print editions of the OJ with legal effect. Effective 1 July 2013, the electronic edition of the OJ (e-OJ) is authentic and produces legal effects. However – due to an unforeseen and exceptional disruption of the Publications Office's IT systems – for the OJs listed on this page, it is the paper version that has legal value. In such cases, the e-OJ is published on EUR‑Lex for information purposes only.
  • Special edition takes you to a page where you can browse the secondary law in force on the date of accession of the given Member State.

The OJ – current issue box, only available on the homepage, contains a link to the latest published editions of the OJ. Clicking on the link More inside the box takes you to the direct access page. 

1. Direct access Page

To go to the direct access page, click on the Official Journal link at the far left of the top menu. Use the direct access page to consult the OJ itself and not a document published within an OJ.

In the middle of the page are the links Search, Direct access to print editions with legal effect and Special edition, followed by three sections:

  • Direct access to the Official Journal – where you can search by Year, OJ series, OJ sub‑series and OJ number
  • Access by year – where you can search by year and month
  • Recent issues – where a table gives information about the publication date, series (L or C) and number of OJ issues from the last two weeks. Click on the OJ identifier in the table to view its table of contents in the Text tab.

If you are a registered user, you can define what constitutes "recent" issues in your site preferences. Read more about configuring the site preferences.

1.1. Search for an Official Journal

On the direct access page, the section Direct Access to the Official Journal lets you use dropdown menus to look for specific OJ issues:

  1. Use the following fields of the search form to specify your search:
    Year Publication year of the OJ you are searching for (mandatory)
    Series Series of the OJ, depending on the year chosen. Since January 1968, it has been published as two separate series: L series – Legislation, C series – Information and Notices. Initially, the OJ was published as a single series: the A series (1952–58), followed by the P series (April 1958–67).
    Sub-series The drop down menu contains the available sub-series, depending on the year and series chosen.
    Number Enter the number of a specific OJ issue.
  2. After defining your search criteria, click on the Search button to launch the search. Two outcomes are possible:
    • If only one OJ is found, when you click on the corresponding link, the table of contents is displayed in the content consultation page.
    • If more than one OJ is found, a list is displayed of OJ issues meeting your search criteria.

 

1.2. Browse the Official Journal by year

In the section Access by year, you can browse for Official Journal (OJ) issues without using the search functionality:

  1. By default, the current year is selected. Click on a month to access the OJs published in that month or click on All to view all OJs published in the current year.
  2. If you select a different year using the dropdown menu, a list appears containing all issues of that year. If you click on a month or All, the list is narrowed accordingly. 

2. Search within an Official Journal

Go to the direct access page and select Search in the left menu. You can also hover your mouse over the Official Journal link and click on Search.

The Advanced Search form appears, with the Official Journal domain pre-selected. You can search by language, words, identifiers and date. Read more on how to perform an advanced search.

3. Verify the authenticity of an e-OJ

From July 1, 2013, only the electronic edition of the OJ (e-OJ) is authentic and produces legal effects, pursuant to Council Regulation 216/2013.

The e-OJ bears an electronic signature, which ensures the authenticity, integrity and inalterability of the electronic edition. You can verify the electronic signature and authentic character of the e-OJ using the CheckLex application. Read more on the verification process in the FAQ or about CheckLex pages.

Find out more about the signature policy used by the Publications Office for the e-OJ and about the qualified certificates that the e-signatures are based on.

3.1. Legally binding print editions

From July 1, 2013, only the electronic edition of the OJ (e-OJ) is authentic and produces legal effects, pursuant to Council Regulation 216/2013.

Therefore, the paper versions of the Official Journal no longer have any legal value, except for cases where – due to an unforeseen and exceptional disruption of the Publications Office's IT systems – the electronic edition of the OJ cannot be published.

For these exceptional cases, the page Legally binding print editions provides:

  1. Direct access to print editions with legal effect. The search pattern is identical to the one described in section 1.1.
  2. Access by year. The search pattern is identical to the one described in section 1.2.

4. Buy an Official Journal

You can buy printed single copies of an OJ by e-mail.

5. Special edition

When a country joins the EU, EU legislation in force at that time ('the acquis') is translated into the country's official language and published in Special Editions of the Official Journal.

  1. Go to the direct access page of the Official Journal and select Special edition in the left‑hand menu. You can also hover your mouse over the Official Journal link and click on Special edition.
  2. On this page, a drop down menu lets you choose the language of the accession country.
  3. A tree for classifying the legislation is displayed, with the year the country joined on top. The first level of the tree represents the directory of legislation in force. The second level is the volume of the OJ issue. When you click on a specific volume, the content consultation page of the table of contents of the OJ is displayed in the selected language.