ELI in Spain

The plurality of the Spanish legal system

The Spanish legal system is a complex and plural reality. It is integrated by rules corresponding three different territorial levels (State, autonomic and local). However, despite the fact that these rules constitute a system and that they are related to each other, there are differences in the technical systems used to store and present legislation in each legal information system. This makes access to law more difficult for legal practitioners, companies and citizens and hampers the connection among legal information systems.

Therefore, the ELI implementation in Spain is specially relevant, since, in addition to the benefits that ELI provides at the European level, there would be, internally, a significant improvement in the access to legal information and in the interoperability of the legal information systems of the different territorial levels.

The development of the project

Due to the plurality of the Spanish legal system, the implementation of the identifier must be carried out in a coordinated way by all the Administrations, following the philosophy defined by the “National Interoperability Scheme”, which takes into account the European Union recommendations.

Thus, the Sectoral Commission for Electronic Administration, which is the technical body for the cooperation in the field of e-administration that gathers the State, the Autonomous Communities and the local entities, decided to create in 2017 an "ELI Working Group" to study how to apply this standard to Spanish legislation.

As a result of the work accomplished by this group, the Sectoral Electronic Administration Commission approved in his meeting of March 13th 2018 the “Technical Specification for the implementation of ELI in Spain (Phase 1)”.

This specification aims to establish the common guidelines required by the implementation of ELI in the Spanish context, so that the identification and description of the legal resources are performed in a coordinated and coherent way by the different Administrations.

According to the gradual approach that defines ELI and that has been followed by all the European countries, the implementation in Spain will take place in various phases: in the first phase, the ELI will be applied only to the State and Autonomic legislation. The complexity of the local legislation and the different technological situations regarding the Provincial Official Journals and the local Administration recommend to approach the application of the identifier to the local legislation in a second phase.

The estimated calendar for the first phase of the identifier implementation is as it follows:

  • Implementation by the State: Before 2019
  • Implementation by the Autonomous Communities: before 2020

Key features of the Technical Specification approved by the Sectoral Commission for Electronic Administration:

The Specification defines the scope to which ELI should be applied and establishes the URI template for the State and Autonomic legislation (Pillar 1), as well as a set of common minimum metadata (Pillar 2).

1. Scope of the ELI:

Given that most of the legislation in force has been issued after the Constitution and that the firsts Autonomy Statutes where approved in 1979, ELI will be applied, at least, to State and Autonomic legislation published from 1978/12/29. At the State level, it will also be applied to all legislation previously published and having a consolidated version.

2. URI template for State and Autonomic legislation:

According to the “Technical Specification” approved by the Sectoral Commission for Electronic Administration, the structure of the URI for the State and Autonomic legislation will be at it follows:


URI elements
Name (ELI) Description Format Values Comments
jurisdiction Jurisdicción Limited list of alphabetic values List of controlled values ISO 3166 alfa 2: ISO 3166-1 for the State.
ISO 3166-2 for the Autonomus Communities
type Rango de la norma Limited list of alphabetic values List of controlled values (1-4 letters) The types will be identified by acronyms, with a variable length
year Año de disposición YYYY 2001, 2002 … Date of signature (yyyy/ mm/dd)
month Mes de disposición MM 01, 02 …
day Día de disposición DD 01, 02 …
(natural identifier)
Alfanumérico Numeric and alphanumeric values   In general, the number is the official number of the legal resource
version Versión Limited list of alphabetic values List of controlled values (3 letters) Identifies if the legal resource is the initial, the consolidated or the corrected one
(point in time)
Fecha de versión Numeric values: YYYYMMDD   Only for consolidated legal resources. Indicates the date of updating.
language Idioma de la disposición Limited list of alphabetic values List of controlled values ISO 639-3 (3 letters code), with adjustments for valencian and bilingual documents.
format Formato de publicación Limited list of values html, pdf, epub, xml The values must be comply with the typologies established by IANA

3. Common ELI metadata:

The implementation of the ELI template in Spain requires the standardization of the metadata used by the different Administrations to describe legislation, at least those metadata that contain information about the components of the URI.

Therefore, in the first phase of the ELI implementation in Spain, the Pillar 1 is tackled together with the Pillar 2, with the aim of establishing a common minimum set of metadata that makes easier the interoperability of the legal information.

The Technical Specification provides the following minimum set of common metadata:

  • eli:jurisdiction
  • eli:type_document
  • eli:date_document
  • eli:number
  • eli:version
  • eli:version_date
  • eli:language
  • eli:format
  • eli:title
  • eli:date_publication
  • eli:publisher (eli:publisher_agent)
  • eli:is_member_of
  • eli:has_member
  • eli:is_another_publication_of
  • eli:has_another_publication
  • eli:realizes
  • eli:is_realized_by
  • eli:embodies
  • eli:is_embodied_by
  • eli:consolidates
  • eli:consolidated_by
  • eli:corrects
  • eli:corrected_by