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 e-government, which is the technical body for the cooperation in the field of digital public administration and gathers the State, the Autonomous Communities and the local entities, decided to create in 2017 an "ELI working party" to study how to apply this standard to the Spanish legislation.

As a result of the work accomplished by this group, the Sectoral Commission passed in its meeting of March 13th 2018 the “Technical Specification for the implementation of ELI in Spain (Phase 1)”, aimed to the national and autonomic legislation. Subsequently, on February 24th 2022, the Commission has passed a new version of the Specification, that covers the adaptations required to apply ELI to local rules also.

The 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 national, regional and local legislation are performed in a coordinated and coherent way by the different public Administrations.

Key features of the Technical Specification:

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

1. Scope of the ELI:

ELI will be applied, at least, to State and Autonomic legislation published since 1978/12/29. At the State level, it will also be applied to all legislation previously published and having a consolidated version.

The local governments can choose the scope of the ELI, depending on their resources and possibilities.

2. URI template for State and Autonomic legislation:

According to the “Technical Specification” passed by the Sectoral Commission for e-government, the structure of the URI for all national legislation will be at it follows:


Even though the URI template is unique, it should be considered that there are some differences between the State and autonomic legislation on the one hand, and the local legislation on the other hand (date and authority tables)

URI elements
Name (ELI) Description Format Values Comments
jurisdiction Jurisdicción Limited list of alphabetic and numeric values List of controlled values

ISO 3166 alfa 2:

  • ISO 3166-1 for the State.
  • ISO 3166-2 for the Autonomus Communities
  • ISO 3166 alfa2+No. in the Official Registry for local entities
type Tipo 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 Numeric values AAAA 2001, 2002…
  • State and Autonomic legislation: Date of signature
  • Local legislation: Date of publication in the corresponding Provincial Official Journal
month Mes Numeric values MM 01, 02…
day Día Numeric values DD 01, 02…
(natural identifier)
Número Numeric and alphanumeric values   In general, the number is the official number of the legal resource. If there is not official number, a fictious number is created.
version Versión Limited list of alphabetic values (3 letters) List of controlled values Identifies if the legal resource is the initial, the consolidated or the corrected one
(point in time)
Fecha de versión Numeric values: YYYYMMDD   For consolidated legal resources. Indicates the date of updating.
language Idioma 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 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 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