More judges needed in the Court of Justice of the European Union, says Lords

29 April 2013


The Lords Justice, Institutions and Consumer Protection EU-Sub Committee has today confirmed its earlier recommendations that the Court of Justice in the European Union (CJEU) needs additional Judges and Advocates General to avoid the risk of unacceptable delay in the administration of justice.

Its report, Workload of the Court of Justice of the European Union: Follow-up Report, published today, is the result of the Committee’s follow-up inquiry into the CJEU, in which they heard from the Minister for Europe, David Lidington, and received written evidence from experts including the Law Society of England and Wales and the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE).

Committee Chairman, Lord Bowness, said:

“The Court of Justice of the European Union is a pivotal legal institution in the European Union and its ability to function effectively and efficiently is something that people and businesses from all Member States will depend on.

“We appreciate the efforts that the CJEU has made so far to reduce the backlog of cases at the Court of Justice but this does not go far enough in addressing the problems that remain. The number of pending cases before the Court continues to rise year on year. It is crucial that the right balance is struck between the length of time it takes for the Court to dispose of a case and the quality of its judgments, in order to preserve its credibility.

“We also believe that Advocates General play an important role in the delivery of justice and call on the Government to support the Court’s request to increase the number of Advocates General by three.

“As recommended in our report published in 2011, we remain convinced that increasing the judiciary would play a significant role in reducing the backlog of pending cases at the General Court and call on the Government to make the case strongly in discussion with other Member States.”

This report follows on from the Committee’s report, published in March 2011, which investigated the workload of the Court. The report raised concerns about the impact that delays in the Court, and the General Court in particular, were having on litigants. The Committee also considered the pressure that new Member States would bring to the Court’s caseload and the effect that the Treaty of Lisbon will have in the number of cases brought before the Court.

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