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About ELI

President Christiane Wendehorst

The European Law Institute, founded in June 2011 as an entirely independent organisation, aims to improve the quality of European law, understood in the broadest sense. It seeks to initiate, conduct and facilitate research, to make recommendations, and to provide practical guidance in the field of European legal development.

The Institute has high ambitions, reflected in its Manifesto and in its Articles of Association. It will study and stimulate European legal development in a global context. That should be taken to include, but by no means be limited to, the development of European law by the European Union and the Council of Europe.

The European Law Institute (ELI)


The European Law Institute (ELI) is an independent non-profit organisation established to initiate, conduct and facilitate research, make recommendations and provide practical guidance in the field of European legal development. Building on the wealth of diverse legal traditions, its mission is the quest for better law-making in Europe and the enhancement of European legal integration. By its endeavours, ELI seeks to contribute to the formation of a more vigorous European legal community, integrating the achievements of the various legal cultures, endorsing the value of comparative knowledge, and taking a genuinely pan-European perspective. As such its work covers all branches of the law: substantive and procedural; private and public.

Among ELI’s core tasks are:

  • to evaluate and stimulate the development of EU law, legal policy, and practice, and in particular make proposals for the further development of the acquis and for the enhancement of EU law implementation by the Member States;
  • to identify and analyse legal developments in areas within the competence of Member States which are relevant at the EU level;
  • to study EU approaches regarding international law and enhance the role EU law could play globally, for instance in drafting international instruments or model rules;
  • to conduct and facilitate pan-European research, in particular to draft, evaluate or improve principles and rules which are common to the European legal systems; and
  • to provide a forum, for discussion and cooperation, of jurists irrespective of their vocation or occupation, inter alia academics, judges, lawyers and other legal professionals, who take an active interest in European legal development and together represent a broad range of legal traditions.

To accomplish its tasks, ELI operates on its own initiative. It is also, however, available for consultation by institutions involved in the development of law on a European, international or national level. As its perspective is not limited to the European experience, ELI is ready to seek cooperation with Non-European or international organisations such as the American Law Institute or UNIDROIT.

ELI is committed to the principles of comprehensiveness and collaborative working, thus striving to bridge the oft-perceived gap between the different legal cultures, between public and private law, as well as between scholarship and practice. To further that commitment it seeks to involve a diverse range of personalities, reflecting the richness of the legal traditions, legal disciplines and vocational frameworks found throughout Europe. ELI is also open to the use of different methodological approaches and to canvassing insights and perspectives from as wide an audience as possible of those who share its vision.'

Sources of funding

The ELI is an entirely independent non-profit organisation under Belgian law. The following are its main sources of income.

Firstly, the cooperation agreement between the University of Vienna and the ELI is running until 2019 and guarantees that the Secretariat will be kindly hosted by the University of Vienna until then. This comprises the main source of funding of the Institute.

Secondly, membership fees of individual and institutional members as well as sponsorship for specific events and projects constitute a cornerstone for ELI funding.

Thirdly, within a three year partnership agreement signed with the European Union for the period 2015-2017, the ELI has been granted operating grants in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

Additionally, some ELI projects are run jointly with other partner organisations, such as UNIDROIT and the ENCJ.