Court of Justice of the European Union
The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), created in 1952 by the Treaty establishing the European Coal and Steel Community, comprises the Court of Justice, the General Court and specialised courts. It ensures compliance with the law in interpreting and applying the Treaties. It comprises one Judge per Member State and eight Advocates-General. The number of advocates-general may be increased to 11 at the request of the CJEU. The Judges and Advocates-General are appointed by common accord of the governments of the Member States for a renewable term of six years. They are chosen from the lawyers who possess the qualifications required for appointment to the highest judicial offices in their respective countries. A panel consisting of seven persons from European or national judicial institutions is tasked with providing an opinion on the nominations made by governments for the posts of Judge or Advocate-General (Article 255 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU)).
Every three years the Judges and Advocates-General are partially replaced.
The Judges of the Court elect the President of the Court from among their number for a term of three years. The President manages the work and services of the Court and chairs the hearings and deliberations of the larger formations of the court.
The two main functions of the Court are to:
- check whether instruments of the European institutions and of governments are compatible with the Treaties (infringement proceedings, proceedings for failure to act, actions for annulment;
- give rulings, at the request of a national court, on the interpretation or the validity of provisions contained in Community law (references for a preliminary ruling).
The Court may sit in chambers (of three to five Judges), in a Grand Chamber (thirteen Judges) or as a full Court.
The Advocates-General assist the Court. Their duty is to present with complete impartiality and independence a legal opinion, called “submissions”, on cases referred to them.
The Registrar is the Secretary-General of the institution and manages the services of that institution under the authority of the President of the Court.
The Court of Justice establishes its Rules of Procedure. Those Rules require the approval of the Council by qualified majority.
The Statute of the Court may be amended by a co-decision of the European Council and the Parliament at the request of the Court or the Commission.