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Rules of Procedure of the General Court

The General Court, the Court of Justice and the Civil Service Tribunal form the European judicial institution whose aim is to ensure the uniform interpretation and application of Union law.

ACT

Rules of Procedure of the General Court.

SUMMARY

The Rules of Procedure lay down the provisions relating to the internal organisation of the General Court and the arrangements for proceedings brought before it. In particular, the Court is responsible for dealing with:

  • direct appeals lodged by natural and legal persons and those directed against acts by Union institutions, bodies and organisations;
  • appeals lodged by Member States against the European Commission or the Council;
  • appeals relating to the Community trade mark;
  • appeals against decisions by the EU Civil Service Tribunal.

Organisation of the Court

The Court is organised in the following way:

  • composition of the Court: the Court comprises 27 members and one judge per Member State. They elect the President of the Court for a 3-year period. The President is responsible for directing the business and services of the Court, presides at hearings and deliberations in closed session and deals with applications for interim measures.
  • constitution of the chambers and designation of Judge-Rapporteurs: the Court consists of chambers composed of three and five judges. These chambers are responsible for managing the cases assigned to them. A Judge-Rapporteur is designated to handle each case. The judges elect the presidents of the chambers.
  • role of the Registrar: the Registrar, appointed by the Court for a 6-year period, is responsible for assisting the Court, the President, and the judges in all their duties. The Registrar is responsible for the Court’s archives and publications.
  • working of the Court: the Court deliberates in closed session. The conclusions reached by the majority of the Judges after the deliberations determine the decision of the Court.
  • languages: the applicant has the option to choose the language of the case from the twenty-three official languages of the Union.
  • rights and obligations of agents, advisers and lawyers: these persons enjoy immunity in respect of words spoken or written by them. Papers and documents relating to the proceedings are exempt from both search and seizure.

Characteristics of the procedures

The procedures of the Court may include all or some of the stages listed below:

  • written procedure: this involves an exchange of pleas between the parties. The application must contain information relating to the name and address of the applicant, the designation of the opposing party, the subject-matter of the proceedings, the form of order and the nature of any evidence. The original copy of the application must be signed by the agent or lawyer of the applicant. The defendant must lodge a defence within the following two months, containing the defendant’s name and address, the arguments relied on, the form of order and the nature of any evidence.
  • the oral procedure takes place during a hearing. The proceedings are opened and directed by the President, who puts questions to the agents, advisers and lawyers of the parties. The parties may not plead on their own behalf. They must be represented by an agent or a lawyer. At the end of these proceedings, the Registrar draws up the minutes.
  • the measures of inquiry and the examination of witnesses concern the appearance of the parties, the request for information and production of documents, the witness testimony, the expert’s report, and an inspection of the place in question. Certain facts are proved by the witnesses. The latter are summoned by the Court, possibly at the request of the parties.

Legal aid may be granted specifically to cover costs relating to legal assistance and representation before the Court.

Special forms of procedure

Because an action for annulment does not have suspensory effect, an application to suspend the operation of a contested measure may be made by the applicant if it brings an action before the Court. In particular, the application for suspension must specify the subject-matter of the proceedings and the circumstances giving rise to the urgency, which justify the suspension sought.

If s/he presents the interest required, an intervener may take part in proceedings already taking place before the Court. In this case, s/he must first present an application to intervene, identifying the case and the principal parties, and presenting the circumstances establishing the right to intervene.

Seised on appeal, the Court of Justice can set aside a judgment or an order of the Court. If a decision of the Court is set aside, the Court may be seised again by the referral order.

In the case of third-party proceedings, namely an application to the judge to rule again on a case which has already received a judgment, they can be requested within two months following publication of the judgment in the Official Journal. A revision of the judgment may also be required in the case of an error.

Handling of disputes relating to intellectual property rights

This type of dispute concerns appeals to the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM) concerning the application of rules relating to intellectual property rights.

Interveners other than the applicant may intervene during the course of the proceedings and shall have the same rights as the principal parties.

Handling of appeals against decisions of the European Civil Service Tribunal

The General Court is responsible for handling appeals against decisions of the Civil Service Tribunal. For this type of appeal, an application is lodged with the Registry of the General Court or of the Civil Service Tribunal. The language of the proceedings is that of the Civil Service Tribunal decision which is the subject of the appeal.

The appeal includes the following information:

  • name and address of the applicant;
  • designation of the other parties;
  • the pleas and supporting arguments in law;
  • the form of order sought by the applicant.

The parties may present their case, which may lead to either the rejection of the appeal or to the annulment of the Civil Service Tribunal decision.

REFERENCES

ActEntry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Rules of Procedure of the Court of First Instance of the European Communities

1.7.1991

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OJ L 136, 30.5.1991

Amending Act(s)Entry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal

Amendments to the Rules of Procedure of the Court of First Instance of the European Communities

1.11.1994

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OJ L 249, 24.9.1994

Amendments to the Rules of Procedure of the Court of First Instance of the European Communities

1.4.1995

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OJ L 44, 28.2.1995

Amendments to the Rules of Procedure of the Court of First Instance of the European Communities

1.9.1995

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OJ L 172, 22.7.1995

Amendments to the Rules of Procedure of the Court of First Instance of the European Communities

1.6.1997

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OJ L 103, 19.4.1997

Court of First Instance of the European Communities Amendments to the Rules of Procedure of the Court of First Instance of the European Communities aimed at enabling the Court to act in a formation of one judge of 17 May 1999

17.5.1999

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OJ L 135, 29.5.1999

Amendments to the Rules of Procedure of the Court of First Instance of the European Communities

1.2.2001

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OJ L 322, 19.12.2000

Amendments to the Rules of Procedure of the Court of First Instance of the European Communities following the entry into force of the Nice Treaty

1.8.2003

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OJ L 147, 14.6.2003

Decision 2004/406/EC

19.4.2004

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OJ L 132, 29.4.2004

Amendments to the Rules of Procedure of the Court of First Instance of the European Communities

1.1.2006

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OJ L 298, 15.11.2005

Decision 2006/956/EC

1.1.2007

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OJ L 386, 29.12.2006

Amendments to the Rules of Procedure of the Court of First Instance of the European Communities

1.9.2008

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OJ L 179, 8.7.2008

Decision 2009/170/EC

1.5.2009

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OJ L 60, 4.3.2009

Amendments to the Rules of Procedure of the Court

13.4.2010

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OJ L 92, 13.4.2010

Amendments to the Rules of Procedure of the Court

1.7.2011

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OJ L 162, 22.6.2011

Successive amendments and corrections to the Rules of Procedure of the Court of First Instance of the European Communities have been incorporated into the original text. This consolidated version (FR ) is for reference only.

RELATED ACTS

Council Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 904/2012 of 24 September 2012 amending Regulation No 422/67/EEC, No 5/67/Euratom determining the emoluments of the President and Members of the Commission, of the President, Judges, Advocates-General and Registrar of the Court of Justice of the Communities, of the President, Members and Registrar of the Court of First Instance and of the President, Members and Registrar of the European Union Civil Service Tribunal [Official Journal L 269 of 4.10.2012].

Last updated: 20.02.2013
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