Specialised courts are responsible for examining at first instance claims lodged in certain specific areas. They replace the judicial panels introduced by the Treaty of Nice. There is currently a specialised European Union Civil Service Tribunal, but another may be established for trademarks.
The creation of specialised courts may be decided by the Council acting by qualified majority under the co-decision procedure with the Parliament at the request of either the Commission or the Court of Justice of the European Union.
The Regulation establishing a specialised court lays down rules on the composition of the court and specifies the extent of its powers. Decisions of specialised courts may be the subject of an appeal limited to points of law or an appeal relating to points of fact, before the Court.
Members of specialised courts are selected from among persons whose independence is beyond doubt and who possess the ability required for appointment to judicial office. They are appointed by the Council, acting unanimously.
Specialised courts draw up their rules of procedure in consultation with the Court of Justice. These rules require the approval of the Council.