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European Union Law: EU courts

Subjects: Law

EU courts : basic facts

•    The European Court of Justice has clearly defined jurisdiction, which it exercises in specific categories of proceedings:

References for preliminary rulings, such as when a national court has requested clarification of a point of EU law
Actions for failure to fulfil obligations
Actions for annulment
Actions for failure to act
Appeals on points of law

The Court consists of 27 Judges and eight Advocates General.  It may sit as a full court, in a Grand Chamber (13 Judges) or in Chambers of three or five Judges.  The Court is assisted by the Advocates General, who, acting impartially and independently, present an  "Opinion" on the cases assigned to them.

•    The General Court has jurisdiction to hear:

Direct actions against certain acts of, or a failure to act by the EU's institutions, bodies, offices or agencies;
Actions brought by the Member States against the Commission, or against the Council relating to certain acts;
Actions seeking compensation for damage caused by the institutions of the European Union or their staff;
Actions based on contracts made by the EU that expressly give jurisdiction to the General Court; actions relating to Community trade marks; actions brought against decisions of the Community Plant Variety Office or of the European Chemicals Agency;
Appeals on points of law, against the decisions of the European Union Civil Service Tribunal,

The General Court consists of at least one Judge form each Member State. and usually sits in a Chamber of three Judges, although it may also sit as a full court, a Grand Chamber (13 Judges), as a Chamber of five Judges or as a single Judge.

•    The Civil Service Tribunal

The Civil Service Tribunal has jurisdiction in disputes between the EU and its servants pursuant to Article 270 TFEU, and also between certain EU Agencies and their staff.

The Tribunal consists of seven Judges, who usually sit in Chambers of three, although the Tribunal may also sit as a full court, as a Chamber of five judges, or as a single Judge.

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