Another crisis of workload within the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) can be expected soon unless more Judges and Advocates General are appointed, according to a report published today by the House of Lords.
The House of Lords European Union Committee found that the increasing size of the EU’s membership, coupled with the expansion of the CJEU’s jurisdiction since the Lisbon Treaty, mean that the institution will struggle to manage its existing workload, let alone an expanding one.
On the General Court, the Committee report that structural solutions need to be found urgently and recommend an increase in the General Court’s judiciary as the best and most flexible long-term solution to the workload problems, despite potential cost implications.
The relatively straightforward reform of boosting the number of AGs and judges would improve the speed with which cases can be dealt.
Commenting on the report, Lord Bowness, Chairman of the House of Lords EU Sub-Committee on Justice and Institutions commented:
"We started our inquiry into the workload of the CJEU because we were concerned by the Courts’ workload statistics. Our concerns were not misplaced. The General Court has an excessive case-load leading to serious delays for litigants, for example, an average time of 33.1 months for competition cases which is clearly unacceptable, and we believe that the time to leave the Court to work as it is has passed.
Solutions need to be addressed, and we strongly feel that the only long term way of improving the workload issues is to increase the judiciary".