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Life hacking EU websites (2): Finding and linking EU Court judgements [updated]

Picture: TPCOM (flickr) | Creative Commons BY-NC 2.0

UPDATE (14 December 2011): The Court website has a new advanced search now and the links to the results actually lead to the exact documents one wants to link; life hacking is no longer necessary. Very good!

Last week I’ve started to show how life hacking of EU websites can make your life easier. The examples covered were from Parliament, Commission and Council websites, and I thought I’d add the EU Court.

The EU Court probably has  the crappiest websites of all EU institutions. One of the many flaws is that there is no obvious way to get direct links to EU Court judgements, links that one could use for blogging or to reference judgements in other academic or non-academic publications.

So what to do if you want to link an EU Court judgement, for example in a blog post?

Step 1: Go to the search form on the EU Court website.

Step 2: Check only the options in the two centre boxes that say “Judgements”. You can also uncheck “Notices in the OJ [=Official Journal of the EU]“.

Step 3: Enter the case number if you know it or do a full-text search with “Words in the text”. As an example, I have been searching for cases containing “1049/2001″, the reference number of the EU regulation on access to EU documents. You get a list of currently 79 results.

Step 4: I want to link the second case in the list, i.e. C-506/08 P “Sweden/My Travel v EU Commission”. Clicking on the link on the left opens the case in my window, but if I want to copy the link with a right-click (ctrl/strg-click on a Mac), I only get this java script thing but not a usable link. And if I follow the link and the text of the judgement appears, the link in my browser status bar is still the same that got me to the list of all search results, not the one to the concrete case.

Step 5: The solution to this problem, i.e. getting the direct link to the text of the judgement, needs a little trick. Right-click (or ctrl/strg-click on a Mac) the text of the judgement once you’ve opened it. A drop-down menu should appear that, depending on your operating system or browser should offer you an item saying something similar to “Open current frame in new window“. Do so.

Step 6: The window that has opened now has the direct link in the status bar of your browser. Just copy it and use it for a blog post, working paper etc., for example to link the judgement of C-506/08 P when blogging about recent case law with regard to access to EU documents.

It’s hard to understand why the Court’s website is as bad as it is, making it this cumbersome to access information that it contains. It’s probably because the old men you see on the picture above rather work with paper copies than with 21st century means. Until someone at the Court realises that we are in 2011, you’ll thus have to work with life hacking solutions like the one presented here.

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