Court of Justice

The Court of Justice is the institution ensuring that EU is applied properly in and by all member countries.
Further tasks are settling disputes between EU governments and EU institutions and arbitrating between EU institutions and individuals, companies or organisations who see their rights infringed.

The ‘EU Civil Service Tribunal’  deals with cases concerning EU states and staff whereas the ‘General Court’  was set up to decide on cases brought up by private individuals, companies and organisations.

As each of the official languages of the EU can be the language of a case the Court of Justice is obliged to be multilangual.



The Court consists of 28 judges – so to speak one of each EU country. Additionally, there are nine ‘advocates-general’ supporting the court. They are appointed by committees of each member state for a term of 6 years.

The judges elect the president and vice president who take over the tasks of jurisdiction and chairing sessions from their midst for a three years` term.

Types of Cases

The five types of cases brought before the court most frequently are:

  • “requests for a preliminary ruling”– When national courts ask the Court of Justice to expound a point of EU law
  • “actions for failure to fulfil an obligation”– When EU governments do not apply EU law properly
  • “actions for annulment”– When EU laws are considered to violate treaties or fundamental rights of the EU
  • “actions for failure to act”– When EU institutions fail making decisions required of them
  • “direct actions”– When individuals, companies or organisations litigate EU decisions or actions


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