ECJ criticised by one of its own judges

The ECJ’s General Court (Court of First Instance until re-named by Lisbon Treaty – the EU’s second highest tribunal) had seen a steady increase in its workload (912 cases in 2014) and been criticised for being too slow. In 2015 the EU decided more judges were necessary and the decision was made to double the number (from 28 to 56). These extra judges are to be phased in (member states draw lots to see which come in first), with all 56 to be in place by September 2019.

However, Franklin Dehousse, a Belgian ECJ judge has criticised the court, claiming that the ECJ invented the backlog in order to get more judges, and that there is now not enough work for them all.

This is good fodder for Unit 4 EU Institutions. It is interesting to note that the court initially only wanted 12 more judges but the member states squabbled too much over which member states would get to appoint them so it agreed to double so all member states got 2 each! The additional judges will cost 23 million euros per year. You could use this story as an example of the ECJ being too powerful (Lisbon gave the court these legislative powers to increase their number).


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