Statistics concerning judicial activity in 2013: unprecedented figures
The past year will be remembered for being, first, the most productive in the Court’s history and, second, the year in which the number of new cases brought was the highest ever
Court of Justice
In 2013, the Court of Justice completed 701 cases, a considerable increase compared with the previous year (595 cases completed in 2012).
The Court had 699 new cases brought before it, which amounts to an increase of approximately 10% compared with 2012 and constitutes the highest annual number of cases brought since the Court’s creation.
Compared with the previous year, this increase in the total number of cases brought is attributable to the increase in the number of appeals and references for a preliminary ruling. The number of references for a preliminary ruling rose in 2013 to 450, the highest level ever.
So far as concerns the duration of proceedings, the statistics are very positive.
In the case of references for a preliminary ruling, the average duration amounted to 16.3 months. The average time taken to deal with direct actions and appeals was 24.3 months and 16.6 months respectively.
It is true that, in the case of direct actions, the duration of proceedings increased significantly compared with 2012 (19.7 months). Nevertheless, this increase, which concerns only 15% of the cases completed in 2013, is principally attributable to factors over which the Court has relatively limited control.
The urgent preliminary ruling procedure was applied in two cases, which were completed in an average period of 2.2 months.
From a statistical point of view, 2013 was very revealing. On the one hand, the General Court demonstrated, for the third year in succession, its enhanced capacity to deal with cases, following the internal reforms implemented and the permanent optimisation of its working methods. In 2013, 702 cases could therefore be decided, bringing the average annual number of cases completed over the past three years to approximately 700. By way of comparison, that average was roughly 480 cases in 2008. In the space of five years, efficiency gains have thus enabled the Court’s productivity to increase by more than 45%.
On the other hand, cases brought reached an all-time high, with 790 new cases, that is to say, a jump of nearly 30% compared with 2012. The overall upward trend in the number of cases brought before the Court, in particular in the field of intellectual property, is thus confirmed with striking clarity. This has resulted in a significant increase in the number of cases pending, which has passed the level of 1 300 cases (1 325 to be precise).
Finally, while the duration of proceedings overall (that is to say, including cases decided by order) saw a short-term increase of roughly 10% (taking the duration to 26.9 months), it should be noted that, so far as concerns cases decided by judgment, a reduction of roughly one month compared with 2012 may be observed, with an average duration of 30.6 months.
Civil Service Tribunal
The statistics concerning the Tribunal’s activity in 2013 show a drop in the number of cases brought (160) compared with the previous year (178). However, 2012 was notable as the year in which the Tribunal registered the largest number of new cases since its creation. The number of cases brought in 2013 is, in contrast, comparable to that of 2011 (159). That figure is none the less appreciably higher than that of earlier years (139 in 2010, 113 in 2009 and 111 in 2008).
Most importantly, it must be pointed out that the number of cases brought to a close (184) represents a clear increase compared with that of the preceding year (121).
The Tribunal has thus achieved the best result in terms of quantity since its creation. This result is attributable to the consideration given throughout the year to the Tribunal’s working methods.
The average duration of proceedings did not change greatly (14.7 months in 2013 compared with 14.8 months in 2012).
Unofficial document for media use, not binding on the Court of Justice.
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