The expected benefits of ECLI are the following:
- Simplified citing of case law.
Case law of national, European or foreign courts will be easily citable by using ECLI. All legal professionals, academics included, will profit by spending less time on studying citation style guides and searching for the right identifiers. Since many more decisions will have an ECLI after the project is finished, case law will be citable more easily.
- Improved case law search over multiple repositories by having a unique identifier (ECLI).
Reading a case law citation in a legal document mostly means a lot of trouble for the reader: he has to discover where the cited judgment might be found and how and which number has to be entered into which search field. But when an ECLI is used for citation, the reader just has to go the ECLI Search Engine of the European e-Justice Portal, enter the ECLI and discover immediately in which repositories the judgment is available in which languages.
- Improved application of EU law by national judge.
The judge will be substantially facilitated to find relevant case law from other Member States, and will therefore finally be able to comply with the obligation imposed on him by the Court of Justice in the Cilfit case.
- Reinforced mutual understanding between the legal communities of the EU Member States.
Taking note of the case law of other Member States is not only relevant in situations where Union law is involved. Improved access to case law will enlarge the opportunities for comparative law studies and therefore contribute to an improved understanding of the similarities and differences between the legal and judicial cultures of the EU Member States.
- Reinforcement of the rule of law, since by improved qualitative and quantitative accessibility of case law the transparancy of justice will be strengthened.
In the light of article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights, accessibility of case law is necessary to ensure scrutiny of the judiciary by the public. By improving this accessibility, both in qualitative and quantitative sense, transparency of the judiciary will be reinforced and the rule of law strengthened.