About ELI

ELI President Pascal Pichonnaz

The European Law Institute (ELI) is an independent, democratic, membership-based organization of distinguished founding. It was established as an ‘Association Internationale Sans But Lucratif’ (AISBL) under Belgian law on 1 June 2011. The idea for a European Law Institute was inspired by the activities of the American Law Institute (ALI), founded in 1923. ELI serves a similar purpose within the European legal context, focusing on European legal development in a global context.

ELI seeks to initiate, conduct and facilitate research, make recommendations and to provide practical guidance in the field of European legal development. Its very considerable intellectual resources are focused on the law not as it is, but as it should be. The Institute organises its work around projects, which can be long-term in nature or a timely response to proposed legislation. Its activities span all branches of the law: substantive and procedural; private and public. In its quest for better law-making, the Institute strives to understand and bridge the oft-perceived tensions and gaps between the different legal cultures, between public and private law, as well as between scholarship and practice. 

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.

In furtherance of its commitment to the principles of comprehensiveness, the Institute canvasses insights and perspectives from as wide an audience as possible. ELI projects undergo extensive consultation both within ELI’s broad network of over 1,700 Members and externally. Among ELI’s 145 Institutional Members are the European Parliament, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT), several supreme courts in Europe, law firms, faculties and professional associations, including the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE), the Council of the Notariats of the European Union (CNUE), the European Network of Councils for the Judiciary (ENCJ) and the Network of the Presidents of the Supreme Judicial Courts of the European Union. Since its foundation, the Institute has also established close working relations with the American Law Institute (ALI), the (US) Uniform Law Commission (ULC) and the Uniform Law Conference of Canada (ULCC).

The Institute's Individual Members stem from the bar, bench, academia and other legal professions, reflecting the richness of the legal traditions, legal disciplines and vocational frameworks found throughout Europe.

It is collaborative working, the integration of the achievements of the various legal cultures and vocations and the taking of a genuinely pan-European perspective, that uniquely position ELI to issue well-considered recommendations and practical guidance on pressing legal issues. ELI’s works have influenced that of the European legislature as well as laws at national and international level, therefore impacting the lives of millions in Europe and beyond.

The Institute’s Statute and other key documents are available here.

It receives substantial support from the institutions of the European Union and the University of Vienna, where it is established. More on sources of funding here.