Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Debate Over the Size of the ECJ

ECJThe European Court of Justice (ECJ) is currently comprised of 28 judges - one from each member state of the European Union. Due to an increased work load, proposals have been put forward to double the number of judges to 56 - 2 from each member state.  The estimated cost of such an increase is 23 million euros annually.

The President of the ECJ, Vassilios Skouris, supports the proposed increase.  However, it has been contradicted by other members of the Court, who believe that a smaller increase in judges, from 28 to 40, and an increase in legal assistants, will suffice.  Although less costly, one major problem is that it is not clear how the new judges would be allocated among the member states. The court's internal opposition is led by Marc Jaeger, President of the ECJ's General Court.  According to news reports, President Skouris has accused Judge Jaeger of lacking respect and damaging the court through his opposition.

Interestingly, the request for additional judges comes at a time when the number of new cases filed with the ECJ fell to its lowest level in the past few years.  According to ECJ's 2014 Annual Report, the number of new cases was fell from 699 in 2013 to 622 in 2014.  

A hearing is scheduled later today at which several members of the court will answer questions from the Members of the European Parliament regarding the need for the increase in judges.  The hearing will not be open to the public.



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