Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Posted by D. Daniel Sokol
Marc van der Woude (Judge, General Court) addresses Judicial Reform and Reasonable Delay.
ABSTRACT: On 28 March 2011 the Court of Justice proposed, on the basis Article 281 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU), to amend its statute. This proposal deals with all three jurisdictions that constitute the Court of Justice. The proposal concerning the Court of Justice is intended, in essence, to adapt its governance by amending the rules relating to the composition of the Grand Chamber and to establish the office of Vice-President of the Court of Justice.
The proposal concerning the General Court aims to appoint twelve additional judges. The Court of Justice considers that this increase in capacity is required to deal with the increasing work load of the General Court. This work load had lead to a considerable backlog and has increased the average duration of proceedings. This increase has affected in particular State aid and competition cases in which the average duration is, respectively, 42 months and 56 months in cases leading to a final judgment. As the Court ruled in the Grüne Punkt case (C-385/07 P, 2009, ECR I-6155) lengthy proceedings can be incompatible with the principle of reasonable delay as guaranteed by Article 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights, but also Article 6(1) of the European Convention of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. As the Court acknowledges, this latter aspect could place the European Union in a delicate position at a time when its accession to that convention is being negotiated.