Reform of the EU Court of Justice: The CCBE adopts comments on the functioning of the General Court in the wake of the 2015 Reform

The Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) contributes to the ongoing debate on the Reform of the judicial framework of the Court of Justice of the European Union by adopting comments on the efficiency of the General Court, the necessity and effectiveness of the increase to 54 Judges, and the further establishment of specialised chambers and/or other structural changes.

The Reform process commenced in 2015 following a Regulation of the European Parliament and the Council to double the number of judges at the General Court. The Court of Justice is currently preparing a report on the functioning of the General Court which is expected will be submitted to the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission before the end of 2020. The CCBE underlines the importance of ensuring all litigants in the European Union may enjoy effective access to justice and quality of justice, as well as the handling of cases in a relatively short time.

The CCBE acknowledges that it is a complex challenge that involves taking into consideration different aspects of the functioning of the Court, such as the method of selection of EU Judges by Member States, the intensity of the review exercised by the General Court over decisions of EU Institutions, the quality of hearings, and active case management as used to good effect in certain Member State courts.

The CCBE therefore advocates a thorough and independent review by representatives of all stakeholders of how the Union Courts can deliver impartial, high quality justice in the coming years.

CCBE President Ranko Pelicarić commented that “The necessary shortening of the average duration of judicial proceedings before the General Court should be achieved without limiting access to justice, reducing the intensity of review of administrative decisions, or taking an increasingly formalistic approach in the application of procedural rules. The CCBE hopes its comments will assist the Court in its efforts to ensure effective access to justice.” (source:CCBE)

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