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Acronym: ECJ. The Court of Justice of the European Union (in French, Court de justice de l'Union européenne) is the judicial institution of the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community (EAEC). It is composed of three courts: the Court of Justice, the Tribunal and the European Civil Service Tribunal, whose first task is to ensure compliance with and uniform interpretation of EU law.
It verifies the compatibility of acts of European institutions and governments with treaties, and it gives rulings to national courts on the interpretation or validity of the provisions of European law (reference). It is competent to hear disputes that may arise between Member States, the European institutions, companies and individuals (infringement action, action for annulment, action for failure).
The Court of Justice may also be referred to in order to appeal the ruling by the national Court. Governed by Arts.19 TEU and 251-281 TFEU, it is headquartered in Luxembourg and it is made up of 27 Judges and 8 Advocates General appointed for six years by agreement between the Member States. The Court can sit in plenary session, as a Grand Chamber of thirteen judges, or in chambers of three or five Judges. The Judges of the Court of Justice shall elect among themselves the president for a period of three years, renewable. The President manages the work and services of the Court and chairs the hearings and deliberation of the larger formations of the Court. The Advocates General have the duty to present, with complete impartiality and independence, reasoned submissions on cases brought before the Court to assist in the trial. Every three years there shall be a partial replacement of the Judges and Advocates-General. The Tribunal consists of one judge for each Member State. They are appointed by common accord of the governments of the Member States for six years. They elect among themselves the president, for a period of three years. They also appoint a Registrar for a term of six years. Contrary to the Court of Justice, the Tribunal does not have permanent Advocates General. The Tribunal has jurisdiction to hear actions concerning natural or legal persons against acts of the institutions and organs of the European Union; the cases brought by States against the Commission or the Council on State aid and dumping of appeals; direct compensation for any damage caused by the EU institutions and in the area of the EU. The Tribunal shall have jurisdiction of appeals against decisions of the European Civil Service Tribunal. The rulings made by the Tribunal, may, within two months, be subject to an appeal to the Court of Justice on points of law. The European Civil Service Tribunal is, within the Institution of the Union Court, the court specialising in the litigation of the civil service of the European Union, expertise that was previously exercised by the Court of Justice, then, from its inception in 1989, by the Court of First Instance.


Editor:  Cristiana MENE’