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Summaries of EU Legislation

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European and international courts

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European and international courts

 

SUMMARY OF:

Article 19 of the Treaty on European Union

Article 257 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union

KEY POINTS

There are many courts that operate at international level and it is not always easy to distinguish their jurisdiction. The aim of this summary is to present the European courts and to distinguish between those which are part of the European Union (EU) and those which belong to other international organisations.

Courts of the EU

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) refers to the whole judicial system of the EU. It is composed of 2 courts:

Court of Justice

The Court of Justice has jurisdiction in actions brought by EU countries or EU institutions. It may also have jurisdiction of last resort in judgments delivered by the General Court. In this case, it rules on the questions of law only and not on the facts of the case.

General Court

The General Court is attached to the Court of Justice and is designed to reduce that Court’s workload. The General Court has jurisdiction to hear at first instance actions brought by EU countries or individuals in the cases provided for by the treaties.

Specialised courts

Under Article 257 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, specialised courts can be created by the European Parliament and the Council in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure. These courts have jurisdiction at first instance in certain categories of action on specific matters. For example, a European Civil Service Tribunal was established in 2005 to deal with disputes involving the EU civil service. The tribunal has been disbanded and, as of 1 September 2016, its work has been transferred to the General Court.

Different types of action

The CJEU is responsible for ensuring compliance with EU law. It has jurisdiction in actions brought by EU countries, EU institutions and EU citizens. There are several types of procedure:

International courts

There is a wide range of courts and tribunals that hear disputes at international level and have their headquarters on European territory. However, these courts do not come under the auspices of the EU. They are:

* KEY TERMS

Arbitration: where an impartial third party makes a decision to resolve a dispute between 2 parties.

Conciliation: where a third party helps parties to rebuild or improve their relationship following a dispute.

MAIN DOCUMENT

Article 19 of the Treaty on European Union (OJ C 202, 7.6.2016, p. 27)

Article 257 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (OJ C 202, 7.6.2016, p. 160)

last update 22.08.2016

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