European Court of Justice

1 October 2016 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: European Union, General, House of the Month

European Court of Justice © flickr.com - sprklg/cc-by-sa-2.0

European Court of Justice © flickr.com – sprklg/cc-by-sa-2.0

The European Court of Justice (ECJ), officially just the Court of Justice (French: Cour de Justice), is the highest court in the European Union in matters of European Union law. As a part of the Court of Justice of the European Union it is tasked with interpreting EU law and ensuring its equal application across all EU member states. The Court was established in 1952 and is based in Luxembourg. It is composed of one judge per member state – currently 28 – although it normally hears cases in panels of three, five or 15 judges. The court has been led by president Koen Lenaerts since 2015. All the EU’s judicial bodies are based in Luxembourg, separate from the political institutions in Brussels and Strasbourg. The Court of Justice is based in the Palais building, currently under expansion, in the Kirchberg district of Luxembourg. Luxembourg was chosen as the provisional seat of the Court on 23 July 1952 with the establishment of the European Coal and Steel Community. Its first hearing there was held on 28 November 1954 in a building known as Villa Vauban, the seat until 1959 when it would move to the Côte d’Eich building and then to the Palais building in 1972. In 1965, the member states established Luxembourg as the permanent seat of the Court. Future judicial bodies (Court of First Instance and Civil Service Tribunal) would also be based in the city. The decision was confirmed by the European Council at Edinburgh in 1992. However, there was no reference to future bodies being in Luxembourg. In reaction to this, the Luxembourgian government issued its own declaration stating it did not surrender those provisions agreed upon in 1965. The Edinburgh decision was attached to the Amsterdam Treaty. With the Treaty of Nice Luxembourg attached a declaration stating it did not claim the seat of the Boards of Appeal of the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market – even if it were to become a judicial body. It is the responsibility of the Court of Justice to ensure that the law is observed in the interpretation and application of the Treaties of the European Union and of the provisions laid down by the competent Community institutions To enable it to carry out that task, the Court has broad jurisdiction to hear various types of action. The Court has competence, among other things, to rule on applications for annulment or actions for failure to act brought by a Member State or an institution, actions against Member States for failure to fulfil obligations, references for a preliminary ruling and appeals against decisions of the General Court.   read more…

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