European Court of Justice

Justice for All

The Court of Justice of the European Communities is the top judiciary body of the European Union. Its tasks include uniform interpretation of European Community (EC) law and ruling on its validity. The language used in the proceedings can be any of the official languages of the European Union. The Court has its seat in Luxembourg.

The main European courts are the Court of Justice, the Court of First Instance and the Civil Service Tribunal. The Court of Justice is responsible for uniform interpretation and application of the EC law, controls the legitimacy or the decision-making of the European Commission and the Council of the EU, and decides on motions and queries related to EC law that are raised by the Member States’ courts. It rules on disputes between the various bodies of the European Union, between these bodies and Member States or between the Member States themselves. The Court of First Instance processes actions filed by Member States against the Commission and against acts of the Council, petitions filed by private individuals and legal entities who contest the decisions or lack of action on the part of the Community bodies and trade mark issues of the Community. The Civil Service Tribunal is a specialised court for all disputes related to civil service in the European Union – it resolves disputes as the court of first instance between the Community and its employees.

Judges must maintain independence and impartiality

The Court of Justice has 27 Judges and eight Advocates General, who are, by agreement of the governments of the Member States, selected for six-year terms. The court is presided over by the President of the Court who manages the Court’s activities and who is elected into the office for a renewable term of three years. Since 2003 the serving President is Vassilios Skouris. The Court of Justice may sit as a full court, as a Grand Chamber (thirteen Judges) or in chambers of three or five judges. The Judges act entirely impartially and independently. There are at least 27 judges in the Court of First Instance (one judge for each Member State), but there are no Advocates General. The Civil Service Tribunal consists of seven judges appointed by the Council of the EU for six-year terms.

Last update: 16.8.2011 16:02

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