ELI is a European Union initiative aimed at providing a unified legal referencing mechanism. In particular, ELI defines a labeling framework based on a generic customizable template to enable the definition of universal resource names that are independent of the countries and legal jurisdictions to which the texts belong.


In the example of Fig. 1, resource identifiers, e.g. the one for article 13-1, and cross references, e.g. “(L. 16 June 1989)”, are both specified using ELI.

For this cross reference example, the ELI name: ” eli/etat/leg/loi/1989/06/16/n1”, has the following interpretation:

  • “eli” is the root of the ELI name;
  • “etat” provides information on the source, here a document from the government;
  • “leg” describes the nature of the document, here a legislative document;
  • “loi” is the type of document, here a law;
  • “1989/06/16” is the date when the text was signed;
  • “n1” is a special number to distinguish texts signed on the same day.