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The EU Court of Justice


The EU Court of Justice has been created in 1951 by the Treaty establishing the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC Treaty). In 1958, with the Convention on certain common institutions, the EU Court of Justice became the common court for the three communities (ECSC, EEC and the Euratom).

In 1997, thanks to the Amsterdam Treaty, the EU Court of Justice has been officialy institutionalised.


The EU Court of Justice is composed of Judges and General Advocates. 

The Judges and Advocates General are appointed by common accord of the governments of the Member States after consultation of a panel responsible for giving an opinion on prospective candidates' suitability to perform the duties concerned. They are appointed for a term of office of six years, which is renewable. They are chosen from among individuals whose independence is beyond doubt and who possess the qualifications required for appointment, in their respective countries, to the highest judicial offices, or who are of recognised competence.


Their independence is guaranteed by an oath lade when they start their work. Also, they are not allowed to have any other activity linked to policy, administration or any other professional activity. 


They may be revoked only by a unanimous vote of other Judges and General Advocates.

They can also resign.


The Judges

There is one judge per Member State, so a total of 27 Judges (soon 28).


The General Advocates

There are 8 General Advocates: 4 permanent (representing France, Italy, Germany and UK) and four changing by a rotative system representing all the other States. 

It has been planned by the Lisbon Treaty that the number of General Adovocates could be  raised by the EU Council if the Court asked. But if more than 3 new judges are created, Poland will have a permanent one.


The General Advocate has the duty to reprensent publicly, with impartiality and independence,  reasoned conclusions on all matters requiring his intervention. These conclusions are published.

The General Advocate cannot participate to the deliberate.


The Legal Secretaries

Each Judge and each General Advocate has 3 Legal Secretaries. 

Legal Secretaries are contractual salaries of the European Court of Justice and are linked to a Judge or a General Advocate. They have for main duty to advice their judge or advocate and they are making suggestions to the judges for the writing of the judgments. 


The EU Court has its permanent sit in Luxembourg.

It has a President that is elected every 3 years among the Judges.  

It also has a registrar (secretary general).

The Court can sit in four different configurations:

  1. in Full Court (for disciplinary decisions or administrative tasks)
  2. in a Grand Chamber of 13 Judges (for cases of exceptional importance)
  3. in a 5 judges Chamber (for important cases)
  4. in a 3 judges Chamber (for all the other cases)


In 1999, a Single Judge has been created for the most easy cases, and with a very limited scope of competences.


The European Court of Justice has jurisdiction for:

  • The infringement procedure
  • The actions for annulment brought by Member States against an act of the European Parliament and the Council, or against an act of EU Commission in the domain of enhanced cooperation.
  • Direct actions for annulment or for failure to act brought by the European Bank against a EU Institution or brought by an EU Institution against the European Bank
  • References for preliminary rulings
  • Ask for opinions on compatibility of International Conventions with the EU Treaties
  • Arbitration clauses
  • Special competences of Article 46 TEU