Court of the European Union

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Court of Justice of the European Union
- EGC -
European Court of Justice Emblem.svg
State level European Union
position Supranational judicial body (and part of the EU political system )
founding 1988
Headquarters Luxembourg City Luxembourg
Chair Marc van der Woude since 2019 Netherlands

The General Court of the European Union  ( EuG , before the Lisbon Treaty called Court of First Instance or GEI for short ) is an independent European court that is subordinate to the European Court of Justice . The official name in the European treaties is only briefly court .

The court was originally by the Council Decision 88/591 / ECSC, EEC, Euratom of the Council of 24 October 1988 on the discharge of the European Court created and is based in Luxembourg .


The court currently consists of 47 judges. The number of judges was gradually increased due to the rapid increase in the number of proceedings over time. Since September 1, 2019, the court has consisted of 2 judges per member state.

The judges will be by a unanimous decision of the Governments of the Member States after consulting the committee referred Art. 255 TFEU appointed Expert Committee formed a six-year term, which de facto of a unanimous decision Council of the European Union equivalent. The court is presided over by a president who is elected from among the judges.

In contrast to the European Court of Justice (ECJ), there are no permanent advocates general at the court . However, this activity can be carried out by a judge appointed for this purpose.

With the creation of the court, a two-tier court system was created at the European level. A legal remedy limited to legal questions can be lodged with the European Court of Justice against all decisions of the court , comparable to the appeal in German law .

As a rule, the court does not decide in the plenary session of all judges, but rather through panels (chambers), each of which is responsible for certain areas of law and has three or five judges. In certain cases a single judge can decide. The Grand Chamber or the Plenary may also meet in particularly significant cases . Since the Treaty of Nice, it has also been possible to set up specialized courts ( called judicial chambers in the Nice Treaty ) to relieve the court , which in turn are subordinate to the court.

Rules of Procedure

The organization of the Court of Justice, the competences and the judicial procedure are regulated in its own rules of procedure, which were published in the Official Journal of the European Union . The Ordinance is divided into:

  • Entry regulations
  • First title organization of the court
  • Title two language regulation
  • Third title litigation
  • Fourth title Litigation relating to intellectual property rights
  • Title Fifth Appeal against Decisions of the Civil Service Tribunal
  • Title six referral proceedings
  • Final provisions


The court decides

  • Actions by natural and legal persons for the annulment of acts by institutions , bodies or other bodies of the European Union which are addressed to them or which affect them directly and individually (this is e.g. an action brought by a company against a decision of the Commission imposing a fine on him)
  • Actions against legal acts of a regulatory nature which concern them directly and do not result in implementing measures
  • Actions by these persons to determine that these organs, institutions or other bodies have failed to take a decision
  • Actions by Member States against the European Commission and the Council of the European Union in relation to measures in the field of state aid , trade protection measures (" dumping ") and measures by which the Council exercises executive powers
  • Actions for damages caused by organs, bodies or other agencies of the European Union or their servants
  • Intellectual property lawsuits against the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and the Community Plant Variety Office (CPVO)
  • Litigation between the institutions of the European Union and their staff on industrial relations and social security
  • other actions based on contracts concluded by the European Union which expressly provide for the jurisdiction of the court


The General Court of the European Union has had a backlog of unprocessed cases for most of its history. After 2010, the burden became so high and the duration of the proceedings so long that the parties sought compensation on a large scale for excessively long proceedings under Article 47. Internal reforms reduced the backlog by around 80% by the end of 2014, and in the first four months of 2015 more cases were closed than were newly submitted.

Various reform plans have been presented since 2011, including the outsourcing of further specialized courts, for example for intellectual property law or competition law . At the end of 2014, the Court of Justice presented the plan to double the number of judges at the court over a period of several years in order to have two judges per member state after the transition period. The council agreed to this in mid-2015. Instead of increasing the number of judges, critics recommend a change in the way of working and further internal reforms.


  • Halvard Haukeland Fredriksen: Individual action options before the courts of the EU according to the Treaty on a Constitution for Europe , in: Zeitschrift für Europarechliche Studien 8 (2005) pp. 99-133.
  • Heinrich Kirschner, Karin Klüpfel: The Court of First Instance of the European Communities. Structure, responsibilities, procedures . 2nd Edition. Carl Heymanns, Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, Munich 1998.
  • Matthias Pechstein : EU / EC procedural law . With the collaboration of Matthias Köngeter and Philipp Kubicki. 3. Edition. Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen 2007.
  • Alexander Thiele : Individual legal protection before the European Court of Justice through the nullity action . Baden-Baden 2006.
  • Alexander Thiele: European procedural law . Munich 2007.
  • Bertrand Wägenbaur: ECJ Rules of Procedure. Statutes and rules of procedure ECJ / ECJ. Comment . CH Beck, Munich 2008, ISBN 978-3-406-55200-7 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. cf. for example Art. 19  TEU , Art. 256 TFEU
  2. Decision 88/591 / ECSC, EEC, Euratom of the Council of October 24, 1988 to discharge the European Court of Justice
  3. ^ Statute of the Court of Justice of the European Union. (PDF; 81.4 kB) Consolidated version. 2016, p. 15, Art. 48 , accessed on June 10, 2017 .
  4. Rules of Procedure of the Court. Retrieved February 8, 2019 . Website of the court with download link
  5. After the abolition of the Court for the Civil Service of the European Union , the Court of the European Union has been deciding first instance on legal disputes between the EU and its employees since September 2016. See Statute of the Court of Justice of the European Union. (PDF; 81.4 kB) Consolidated version. September 2016, p. 16, Art. 50a , accessed on June 9, 2017 .
  6. ^ A b Alberto Alemanno, Laurent Pech: Reform of the EU's Court System: Why a more accountable - not a larger - Court is the way forward , VerfBlog, June 17, 2015
  7. ^ Council of the European Union: Proposal on the procedures for increasing the number of Judges at the General Court of the European Union . 20th November 2014.
  8. ^ Council of the European Union: Position of the Council at first reading in view of the adoption of a REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL amending Protocol No 3 on the Statute of the Court of Justice of the European Union . June 12, 2015.