ELI Projects, Feasibility Studies and Other Activities

ELI adopts different approaches in its quest to stimulate European legal development in a global context. In particular, ELI output is usually achieved via projects and feasibility studies with other residual activities falling under the last category:


The selection, management and approval of projects carried out under the auspices of the ELI are regulated in the ELI Project Guidelines and under the Important Links table on the right below. These Guidelines took effect on 27 August 2020, replacing earlier Guidelines of 21 November 2018, which can be found here. The Guidelines of 21 November 2018 replaced earlier Guidelines which can be found here.

Kindly note that the below text primarily applies to projects adopted under the Project Guidelines of 21 November 2018.

Project Workflow

Identification of Projects and Selection Criteria

By Article 12 of the ELI Statute, the Council shall identify relevant projects within the ELI's field of activities, following consultation with the Senate and taking into account any suggestions, particularly those made by other bodies or members of the ELI or by stakeholder organisations. This role has now been delegated to the ELI’s Executive Committee, whose task it is to then submit project proposals to the Council to approve, in consultation with the Senate. As stated in paragraph 6 of the ELI Project Guidelines, any project carried out under the auspices of the ELI should:

  • serve the people, companies and organisations in Europe by improving the law or facilitating its application 
  • be principally capable of producing results which can be of immediate practical utility, and in particular be usable directly (eg as draft rules) by legislative bodies, judiciaries, or other interested parties
  • be the product of collaborative work conducted by jurists from a wide range of vocational backgrounds 
  • have a genuinely pan-European perspective which takes due account of Europe’s various legal traditions

The ELI  may also  partially  or  fully  adopt  projects  that  have  originated  outside it.

Types of Projects

Projects carried out under the auspices of the ELI will often take the form of medium- to long-term studies (formerly known as Statements and Instruments), the added value of which is to provide, through the independence, excellence and diversity of the Project Teams and the on-going critical guidance by a very broad constituency of jurists, well-rounded solutions that have the support of the European legal community. The urgency of a matter may, however, be such that a short-term reaction is a more appropriate.

ELI projects have fallen into four broad categories:

  • Draft legislative proposals
  • Model laws, model rules, policies, statements of principles
  • Checklists, other practical guidance
  • Position papers 

By Article 12(2) of the ELI Statute, projects may be conducted under the regular procedure or under the accelerated procedure. The latter is most appropriate in cases where a quick reaction of the ELI is required, in particular where new developments require a position paper or similar statement by the ELI.

Submitting a Project Proposal

The ELI invites its Members and the interested public to submit proposals for new projects. In order to ensure that the proposal covers all relevant issues, please refer to the Guidelines and enter the application in the template provided in the same.

Before being submitted to the Council for approval as an ELI project, a project proposal must be prepared with the assistance of the ELI Secretariat, and under the guidance of the Executive Committee. Details as to what should be specified in the proposal are enumerated in paragraph 8 of the Project Guidelines. These include the project’s subject, methodology and the actual results it seeks to achieve; the wider social, economic and similar benefits to be derived from the project; a budget; a detailed timeline; and proposed members of the Project Team.

Approval of the Project and the Appointment of the Project Team, Advisory Committee, Assessors and the Members Consultative Committee (MCC)

Following assessment of the merits and quality of the project, the Executive Committee will suggest revisions (where appropriate), before submitting it and its report to the Council. The Council will ordinarily expect to hear a short oral presentation by the proposer and will ask questions or seek clarifications. Following consultation with the Senate, it is for the Council to decide whether or not to accept a proposal as an ELI project or require it to be revised. The Council may also approve it subject to conditions.

The Council is ordinarily tasked with the appointment of Project Reporters and other members, who together form the Project Team. Additionally, it appoints an Advisory Committee to support the work of the Project Team. In the case of an accelerated procedure, it is the Executive that appoints the Team.

The principles of diversity specified in Article 2 of the ELI Statute, including of legal traditions and disciples, gender and age and the idea of cooperation among jurists from different vocational backgrounds, are paramount considerations for the above appointments. Additionally, members of the Project Team and all advisors must be specialists of outstanding reputation in the relevant field and must, whether or not they are a Member of ELI, adhere to the Guidelines and to the values reflected in the Statute.

The Council concurrently adds to the Advisory Committee two or three drawn from the Council as Assessors, who will act in the capacity of peer reviewers and auditors of quality. Their task entails providing a report on the project to the Council at the project’s conclusion to focus discussions. It also usually appoints an MCC. Further details on Advisory Committees and MCCs can be found here.

It is essential that the Project Team regularly informs the Executive Committee, Secretariat, Advisory Committee, Assessors as well as the MCC of the progress of the project.

Approval of Project Results

Before a project is submitted to the Council for a final vote, the ‘Council Draft’ and Assessor’s report on that draft should be delivered to the Executive. This should be done at least two months prior to the Council meeting at which it is to be considered. On review, the Executive will either forward the Draft and report to the Senate and Council with its comments or require the Project Team to amend the Draft.

The Council may require further revision of the Draft or approve it. In the case of the regular procedure, the project must also be approved by the Membership (by a simple majority).


Completed projects, and the results thereof, may only be published as an official position of the ELI after the approval of the Council and/or the Membership. ELI outputs are freely downloadable online and depending on their nature, may be available to order with background materials from the ELI’s publisher, Oxford University Press.

Feasibility Studies and Other Activities

From time to time, the ELI embarks on feasibility studies rather than projects. Such studies analyse the practicality and viability of prospective projects. As such their purpose is to screen project ideas before a fully-fledged project is embarked upon. The ‘Other Activities’ category is residual in nature.