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EUR-Lex Access to European Union law

This document is an excerpt from the EUR-Lex website

Official Journal

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The Official Journal of the European Union (OJ) is published daily (from Monday to Friday regularly, on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays only in urgent cases) in all of the official languages of the EU. Since 1 July 2013 only the electronic edition of the OJ is authentic and produces legal effects.

The Official Journal box on the homepage (start page) contains links to the latest published editions of the OJ. Clicking on ‘More’ or on ‘Official Journal’ inside the box takes you to the ‘Direct access’ page, where you can search for issues by number, series or date.

From the ‘Direct access’ page you can also reach the list of legally binding print editions and the page of special editions of the OJ.

Once you navigate away from the homepage, you can access the OJ pages from the main menu, which is tucked into a ‘Menu’ button just below the logo. To access it, click on the ‘Menu’ button.

1. Direct access page

On the ‘Direct access to the Official Journal’ page you can:

  • search or browse for an issue of the OJ;
  • read about the OJ;
  • navigate to sub-pages by using the menu on the left;
  • consult recent issues.

If you are a registered user, you can define in your site preferences how many issues are listed under the ‘Recent issues’ section. Read more about configuring the site preferences.

1.1. Search for an Official Journal

The section ‘Direct access to the Official Journal’ lets you use drop-down 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).
    OJ 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).
    Class of the OJ 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 magnifying glass 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 of the OJ issue found is displayed.
    • If more than one OJ is found, a list of OJ issues meeting your search criteria is displayed.

 

1.2. Browse the Official Journal by year

In the section ‘Access by year’ (collapsed, click on the row to expand), you can browse for OJs.

  1. The current year is always 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 drop-down menu, a list appears containing all issues from that year. If you click on a month, the list is narrowed accordingly. Use pagination to navigate through pages of results.

2. Verify the authenticity of an e-OJ

As of 1 July 2013 only the electronic edition of the OJ (e-OJ) is authentic and produces legal effects, pursuant to Council Regulation (EU) No 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 page.

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.

2.1. Legally binding print editions

Though, since 1 July 2013, the paper versions of the Official Journal no longer have any legal value, there are exceptions 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 ‘Legally binding print editions’ page provides the following:

  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.

3. Buy an Official Journal

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

4. Special editions

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.
  2. On this page, choose the language of the accession country.
  3. A classification tree is displayed, with the year the country joined on top. The first level of the tree follows the chapters of the directory of legislation in force. On the second level you can find the volumes of the special edition. When you click on a specific volume, the table of contents is displayed.