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Document 32023Q0214(01)

Amendments to the Rules of Procedure of the General Court

OJ L 44, 14.2.2023, p. 8–14 (BG, ES, CS, DA, DE, ET, EL, EN, FR, GA, HR, IT, LV, LT, HU, MT, NL, PL, PT, RO, SK, SL, FI, SV)

Legal status of the document In force

ELI: http://data.europa.eu/eli/proc_rules/2023/214/oj

14.2.2023   

EN

Official Journal of the European Union

L 44/8


AMENDMENTS TO THE RULES OF PROCEDURE OF THE GENERAL COURT

THE GENERAL COURT,

Having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and in particular the fifth paragraph of Article 254 thereof,

Having regard to the Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community, and in particular Article 106a(1) thereof,

Having regard to Protocol No 3 on the Statute of the Court of Justice of the European Union, and in particular Article 63 thereof,

 

Whereas it is appropriate to take account of the experience gained in the implementation of the Rules of Procedure in order to clarify the scope of certain provisions or, where necessary, to supplement or simplify them, in particular with a view to fostering proactive case management,

Whereas, furthermore, the implementation of the reform of the judicial architecture of the Court of Justice of the European Union resulting, first, from Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2015/2422 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2015 amending Protocol No 3 on the Statute of the Court of Justice of the European Union (1) and, secondly, from Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2016/1192 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 July 2016 on the transfer to the General Court of jurisdiction at first instance in disputes between the European Union and its servants (2) makes it necessary to adjust the Rules of Procedure, in particular so as to ensure that the partial specialisation of the Chambers decided on by the General Court is not rendered redundant upon the triennial change in the composition of the Chambers,

Whereas, in addition, it is appropriate to amend the Rules of Procedure to take account of developments in the rules on the protection of the personal data of natural persons in the European Union, in particular to better highlight the arrangements for protecting, vis-à-vis the public, such data contained in information relating to cases pending before the General Court, either by the General Court of its own motion or on an application by a party to the proceedings or an applicant for leave to intervene,

Whereas the arrangements put in place during the health crisis allowing parties to make oral submissions by video conference provided valuable lessons which should be reflected in a legal regime laid down by the Rules of Procedure,

Whereas, lastly, the introduction of the pilot case mechanism and the organisation of a joint hearing of two or more cases, identified by the General Court as arrangements allowing certain cases to be dealt with more efficiently, require legal bases to be inserted in the Rules of Procedure,

With the agreement of the Court of Justice,

With the approval of the Council given on 18 November 2022,

HAS ADOPTED THE FOLLOWING AMENDMENTS TO ITS RULES OF PROCEDURE:

Article 1

The Rules of Procedure of the General Court of 4 March 2015  (3) are hereby amended as follows:

1.

Article 10(6) is amended as follows:

‘6.   In cases not yet assigned to a formation of the Court, the President of the General Court may adopt the measures of organisation of procedure provided for in Article 89 and shall have the power to take the decisions referred to in Articles 66 and 66a.’

2.

Article 27 is supplemented by the addition of the following paragraph 6:

6.   Without prejudice to the provisions of paragraph 5, where a case concerns a specific matter for the purposes of Article 25 and the written part of the procedure has not been closed when the decision of the General Court on the assignment of Judges to Chambers is adopted, a new Judge-Rapporteur shall be designated within a Chamber which hears and determines cases in that matter if the initial Judge-Rapporteur is assigned to a Chamber which does not do so.

3.

Article 28 is amended as follows:

(a)

Paragraph 2 is amended as follows:

‘2.   The Chamber seised of the case, the Vice-President of the General Court or the President of the General Court may, at any stage in the proceedings, either of its or his own motion or at the request of a main party, propose to the plenum that the case be referred as provided for in paragraph 1.’

(b)

The new paragraph 3 is worded as follows:

3.   The President of the General Court or the Vice-President of the General Court may propose to the plenum that the case be referred as provided for in paragraph 1 until the close of the oral part of the procedure or, where Article 106(3) applies, before the Chamber seised of the case decides to rule without an oral part of the procedure.

(c)

Paragraphs 3, 4 and 5 currently in force are renumbered as paragraphs 4, 5 and 6, respectively.

4.

Article 31(3) is amended as follows:

‘3.   After being so designated, the Advocate General shall be heard before the decisions provided for in Articles 16, 28, 45, 68, 70, 83, 87, 90, 92, 98, 103, 105, 106, 113, 126 to 132, 144, 151, 165, 168, and 169 and 207 to 209 are taken.’

5.

Article 35(3) is amended as follows:

‘3.   The Registrar shall have custody of the seals and shall be responsible for the records. He shall be in charge, in accordance with the criteria laid down by the General Court, of its the publications of the General Court, in particular, the European Court Reports, and of the dissemination on the Internet of documents concerning the General Court.’

6.

Article 45 is amended as follows:

(a)

Paragraph 1 is amended as follows:

‘1.   In direct actions within the meaning of Article 1, the language of a case shall be chosen by the applicant, except that:

(a)

where the defendant is a Member State or a natural or legal person having the nationality of a Member State, the language of the case shall be the official language of that State; where that State has more than one official language, the applicant may choose between them;

(b)

where an application is submitted by an institution pursuant to an arbitration clause contained in a contract concluded by or on behalf of the Union, whether that contract be governed by public or private law, in accordance with Article 272 TFEU, the language of the case shall be the language in which the contract was concluded; where that contract has been drawn up in more than one language, the applicant may choose between them;

(c)

at the joint request of the main parties, the use of another of the languages mentioned in Article 44 for all or part of the proceedings may be authorised;

(d)

at the request of one of the parties, and after the other parties have been heard, the use of another of the languages mentioned in Article 44 as the language of the case for all or part of the proceedings may be authorised by way of derogation from subparagraphs (b) (a) to (c); such a request may not be submitted by an institution.’

(b)

Paragraph 3 is amended as follows:

‘3.   Without prejudice to the provisions of paragraph 1(b) and(c) and (d),:

(a)

in appeals against decisions of the Civil Service Tribunal as referred to in Articles 9 and 10 of Annex I to the Statute, the language of the case shall be the language of the decision of the Civil Service Tribunal against which the appeal is brought;

(b)

in the case of applications for rectification, applications for the General Court to remedy a failure to adjudicate or for it to set aside judgments by default, third-party proceedings and applications for interpretation or revision of a judgment or in the case of disputes concerning the costs to be recovered, the language of the case shall be the language of the decision to which those applications or disputes relate.’

(c)

The first sentence of paragraph 4 is amended as follows:

‘4.   Without prejudice to the provisions in paragraph 1(b) and(c) and (d), in proceedings brought against decisions of the Boards of Appeal of the Office, referred to in Article 1, with respect to the application of the rules relating to an intellectual property regime:’

7.

Article 46 is amended as follows:

(a)

Paragraph 2 is amended as follows:

‘2.   Any material produced or annexed that is expressed in another language must be accompanied by a translation into the language of the case. Where material annexed to a procedural document is not accompanied by a translation into the language of the case, the Registrar shall require the party concerned to make good the irregularity if the President decides, of his own motion or at the request of a party, that a translation is necessary for the purposes of the efficient conduct of the proceedings. If the irregularity is not made good, the annexes in question shall be removed from the case file.

(b)

Paragraph 3 is amended as follows:

‘3.   However, i In the case of substantial material, translations may be confined to extracts. At any time the President may, of his own motion or at the request of one of the parties, call for a complete or fuller translation.’

(c)

Paragraph 5 is amended as follows:

‘5.   The States, other than the Member States, which are parties to the EEA Agreement, and also the EFTA Surveillance Authority, may shall be authorised to use one of the languages mentioned in Article 44, other than the language of the case, when they intervene in a case before the General Court. This provision shall apply both to written documents and to oral statements. The Registrar shall arrange in each instance for translation into the language of the case.’

8.

Article 47 is amended as follows:

1.   The Registrar shall, at the request of any Judge, of the Advocate General or of a party, arrange for procedural documents anything said or written in the course of the proceedings before the General Court to be translated into the language of the case and, as the case may be, into another languages chosen from those referred to in Article 44.

2.   The Registrar shall ensure that what is said at the hearing is interpreted into the language of the case and into the other languages that are referred to in Article 44 and are used by the parties present at the hearing or considered necessary for the efficient conduct of that hearing.

9.

Article 51 is amended as follows:

(a)

Paragraph 2 is amended as follows:

‘2.   The lawyer representing or assisting a party must lodge at the Registry a certificate that he is authorised to practise before a court of a Member State or of another State which is a party to the EEA Agreement. unless that certificate has already been lodged for the purposes of opening an account giving access to e-Curia.

(b)

Paragraph 4 is amended as follows:

‘4.   If the documents referred to in paragraphs 2 and or that referred to in paragraph 3 is are not lodged, the Registrar shall prescribe a reasonable time limit within which the party concerned is to produce it them. If the party concerned fails to produce the required documents within the time limit prescribed, the General Court shall decide whether the non-compliance with that procedural requirement in question renders the application or written pleadings formally inadmissible or whether it leads to the lawyer being regarded as not representing or assisting the party concerned.

10.

Article 66, headed ‘Anonymity and omission of certain information vis-à-vis the public’, is replaced by the following:

Article 66

Omission of personal data of natural persons vis-à-vis the public

1.   In the course of the proceedings, the General Court may decide to omit, of its own motion or on an application by a party made by a separate document, the full names of natural persons, whether parties or third parties, and any other personal data of those natural persons mentioned in the documents and information which relate to a case and to which the public has access.

2.   Paragraph 1 shall apply to applicants for leave to intervene.

11.

The following new Article 66a, headed ‘Omission of data other than personal data of natural persons vis-à-vis the public’, is inserted after Article 66:

‘Article 66a

Omission of data other than personal data of natural persons vis-à-vis the public

1.   In the course of the proceedings, the General Court may decide to omit, of its own motion or on a reasoned application by a party made by a separate document, data other than personal data of natural persons mentioned in documents and information to which the public has access if there are legitimate reasons why those data should not be publicly disclosed.

2.   Paragraph 1 shall apply to applicants for leave to intervene.

12.

Article 69(c) is amended as follows:

‘(c)

at the request of a main party with the express agreement of the other main party;’

13.

The following new Article 71a, headed ‘Pilot cases’, is inserted after Article 71:

Article 71a

Pilot cases

1.   Where two or more cases pending before the General Court raise the same issue of law and the General Court considers that it is in the interests of the proper administration of justice to avoid those cases being dealt with in parallel, the proceedings may be stayed in accordance with Article 69(c) or (d) and Articles 70 and 71, pending the determination of the case which, among them, best lends itself to the examination of that issue, which shall be identified as the pilot case.

2.   Before deciding whether to stay proceedings, the President shall invite the main parties in the cases in which the proceedings may be stayed to submit their observations on any stay, in accordance with Article 70(1), indicating to them the issue of law involved and the case likely to be identified as the pilot case.

3.   The President of the Chamber to which the pilot case is assigned shall give that case priority over others, in accordance with Article 67(2).

4.   When the proceedings are resumed, the parties in the cases in which the proceedings have been stayed shall be given the opportunity to submit their observations on the decision given in the pilot case and on the consequences of that decision for the dispute.

14.

Article 72 is amended as follows:

(a)

Paragraph 5 is deleted.

(b)

Paragraph 6 is renumbered as paragraph 5.

15.

Article 78(4) is amended as follows:

‘4.   An application made by a legal person governed by private law shall be accompanied by recent proof of that person’s existence in law (extract from the register of companies, firms or associations or any other official document).’

16.

Article 79 is amended as follows:

‘A notice shall be published in the Official Journal of the European Union indicating the date of lodging of an application initiating proceedings, the names of the main parties, the form of order sought by the applicant and a summary of the pleas in law and of the main supporting arguments, without prejudice to the application of Articles 66 and 66a.

17.

Article 82 is amended as follows:

‘Where the European Parliament, the Council or the European Commission is not a party to a case, the General Court shall send to them copies of the application and of the defence, or of the plea of lack of competence or inadmissibility, as the case may be, without the annexes thereto, to enable them to assess whether the inapplicability of one of their acts is being invoked under Article 277 TFEU.’

18.

The following new Article 106a, headed ‘Joint hearing’, is inserted after Article 106:

Article 106a

Joint hearing

If the similarities between two or more cases so permit, the General Court may decide to organise a joint hearing of those cases.

19.

The following new Article 107a, headed ‘Participation in a hearing by video conference’, is inserted after Article 107:

Article 107a

Participation in a hearing by video conference

1.   Where health, security or other serious reasons prevent a party’s representative from participating in a hearing in person, that representative may be authorised to take part in the hearing by video conference.

2.   The request to participate in the hearing by video conference shall be made by a separate document as soon as the reason for the impediment is known and shall state the precise nature of the impediment.

3.   The President shall decide on the request as soon as possible.

4.   The use of video conferencing shall not be possible in the event of a decision by the General Court to hear a case in camera pursuant to Article 109.

5.   The technical conditions to be satisfied by those wishing to participate in hearings by video conference shall be laid down in the practice rules referred to in Article 224.

20.

Article 139 is amended as follows:

‘Proceedings before the General Court shall be free of charge, except that:

(a)

where a party has caused the General Court to incur avoidable costs, in particular where the action is manifestly an abuse of process, the General Court may order that party to refund them;

(b)

where the cost of copying or translation work is carried out at the request of a party is considered by, the cost shall, in so far as the Registrar to be considers it excessive, the Registrar shall request that it be paid for by that party on the Registry’s scale of charges referred to in Article 37;

(c)

in the event of any repeated failure to comply with the requirements of these Rules or of the practice rules referred to in Article 224, requiring regularisation to be sought, the Registrar shall request that the costs involved in the requisite processing thereof by the General Court shall, at the request of the Registrar, be paid for by the party concerned on the Registry’s scale of charges referred to in Article 37.’

21.

Article 144(6) is amended as follows:

‘6.   If the application to intervene is refused, the order referred to in paragraph 5 must state the reasons on which it is based and include a decision as to the costs relating to the application to intervene, including the costs of the applicant for leave to intervene, pursuant to Articles 134, and 135 and 138.’

22.

Article 148(9) is amended as follows:

‘9.   Where the applicant for legal aid is not represented by a lawyer, a copy of the document to be served shall be served on him in the form of a certified copy sent by registered post with a form for acknowledgement of receipt or by delivery of the copy against receipt. Service on other parties shall be effected as provided for in Article 80(1).’

23.

Article 177 is amended as follows:

(a)

Paragraph 4 is amended as follows:

‘4.   An application made by a legal person governed by private law shall be accompanied by recent proof of that person’s existence in law (extract from the register of companies, firms or associations or any other official document).’

(b)

Paragraph 6 is amended as follows:

‘6.   If an application does not comply with paragraph 2, the Registrar may prescribe a reasonable time limit within which the applicant is to put the application in order, if the circumstances so justify. If an application does not comply with paragraphs 23 to 5, the Registrar shall prescribe a reasonable time limit within which the applicant is to put the application in order. If the applicant fails to put the application in order within the time limit prescribed, the General Court shall decide whether the non-compliance with that the procedural requirement renders the appeal formally inadmissible.’

24.

Article 178(3) is amended as follows:

‘3.   The application shall be served on a party to the proceedings before the Board of Appeal via e-Curia where that party has become a party to the proceedings before the General Court in accordance with Article 173(2). If the party to the proceedings before the Board of Appeal is an institution that has an account giving access to e-Curia, service of the application shall be made by e-Curia. Otherwise, the application shall be served in the form of a certified copy sent by registered post with a form for acknowledgement of receipt or by delivery of the copy against receipt at the address given in accordance with Article 177(2) by the party concerned for the purposes of the notifications to be effected in the course of the proceedings before the Board of Appeal or, if that address has not been provided, at the address given in the contested decision of the Board of Appeal.

25.

Articles 192 to 214 are repealed.

26.

The heading of Title VI is amended as follows:

‘PROCEDURES AFTER A DECISION IS SET ASIDE ON APPEAL AND THE A CASE IS REFERRED BACK TO THE GENERAL COURT’

27.

Articles 220 to 223 are repealed.

Article 2

These amendments to the Rules of Procedure, authentic in the languages referred to in Article 44 of these Rules, shall be published in the Official Journal of the European Union and shall enter into force on the first day of the second month following that of their publication.

Done at Luxembourg, 30 November 2022.

Registrar

E. COULON

President

M. VAN DER WOUDE


(1)   OJ L 341, 24.12.2015, p. 14.

(2)   OJ L 200, 26.7.2016, p. 137.

(3)   OJ L 105, 23.4.2015, p. 1, as amended on 13 July 2016 (OJ L 217, 12.8.2016, p. 71; OJ L 217, 12.8.2016, p. 72; OJ L 217, 12.8.2016, p. 73), 11 July 2018 (OJ L 240, 25.9.2018, p. 68) and 31 July 2018 (OJ L 240, 25.9.2018, p. 67).


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