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The European Court of Justice
The Court of Justice of the European Communities (often referred to simply as ‘the Court’) was set up under the ECSC Treaty in 1952. It is based in Luxembourg.
Its job is to make sure that EU legislation is interpreted and applied in the same way in all EU countries, so that the law is equal for everyone. It ensures, for example, that national courts do not give different rulings on the same issue. The Court also makes sure that EU member states and institutions do what the law requires. The Court has the power to settle legal disputes between EU member states, EU institutions, businesses and individuals.
The Court is composed of one judge per member state, so that all 27 of the EU’s national legal systems are represented. For the sake of efficiency, however, the Court rarely sits as the full court. It usually sits as a ‘Grand Chamber’ of just 13 judges or in chambers of five or three judges. The Court is assisted by eight ‘advocates-general’. Their role is to present reasoned opinions on the cases brought before the Court. They must do so publicly and impartially.
The judges and advocates-general are people whose impartiality is beyond doubt. They have the qualifications or competence needed for appointment to the highest judicial positions in their home countries. They are appointed to the Court of Justice by joint agreement between the governments of the EU member states. Each is appointed for a term of six years, which may be renewed.
To help the Court of Justice cope with the large number of cases brought before it, and to offer citizens better legal protection, a ‘Court of First Instance’ was created in 1989. This Court (which is attached to the Court of Justice) is responsible for giving rulings on certain kinds of case, particularly actions brought by private individuals, companies and some organisations, and cases relating to competition law.
The Court of Justice and the Court of First Instance each have a President, chosen by their fellow-judges to serve for a renewable term of three years.
A new judicial body, the ‘European Civil Service Tribunal’, has been set up to adjudicate in disputes between the European Union and its civil service. This tribunal is composed of seven judges and is attached to the Court of First Instance.
The Court gives rulings on cases brought before it. The four most common types of case are:
1. References for a preliminary ruling. The national courts in each EU country are responsible for ensuring that EU law is properly applied in that country. But there is a risk that courts in different countries might interpret EU law in different ways. To prevent this happening, there is a ‘preliminary ruling procedure’. This means that if a national court is in any doubt about the interpretation or validity of an EU law it may, and sometimes must, ask the Court of Justice for advice. This advice is given in the form of a ‘preliminary ruling’
2. Actions for failure to fulfil an obligation. The Commission can start these proceedings if it has reason to believe that a member state is failing to fulfil its obligations under EU law. These proceedings may also be started by another EU country. In either case, the Court investigates the allegations and gives its judgment. The accused member state, if it is indeed found to be at fault, must set things right at once. If the Court finds that the member state has not complied with its judgment, it may impose a fine on that country. The Commission can start these proceedings if it has reason to believe that a member state is failing to fulfil its obligations under EU law. These proceedings may also be started by another EU country.
3. Actions for annulment. If any of the member states, the Council, the Commission or (under certain conditions) Parliament believes that a particular EU law is illegal they may ask the Court to annul it. These ‘actions for annulment’ can also be used by private individuals who want the Court to cancel a particular law because it directly and adversely affects them as individuals. If the Court finds that the law in question was not correctly adopted or is not correctly based on the Treaties, it may declare the law null and void.
4. Actions for failure to act. The Treaty requires the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission to make certain decisions under certain circumstances. If they fail to do so, the member states, the other Community institutions and (under certain conditions) individuals or companies can lodge a complaint with the Court so as to have this failure to act officially recorded. Cases are submitted to the registry, and a specific judge and advocate-general are assigned to each case.
The procedure that follows is in two stages: first a written and then an oral phase.
At the first stage, all the parties involved submit written statements and the judge assigned to the case draws up a report summarising these statements and the legal background to the case.
Then comes the second stage – the public hearing. Depending on the importance and complexity of the case, this hearing can take place before a chamber of three, five or 13 judges, or before the full Court. At the hearing, the parties’ lawyers put their case before the judges and the advocate-general, who can question them. The advocate-general then gives his or her opinion, after which the judges deliberate and deliver their judgment.
Since 2003, advocates general have been required to give an opinion on a case only if the Court considers that this particular case raises a new point of law. Nor does the Court necessarily follow the advocate-general’s opinion. Judgments of the Court are decided by a majority and pronounced at a public hearing. Dissenting opinions are not expressed. Decisions are published on the day of delivery.
Note. The ECSC treaty (European Coal and Steel Community) served as the foundation for the later development of the European Economic Community (later renamed the European Community by the Maastricht Treaty), and then the European Union.
3. Give the Ukrainian equivalents to the following words and phrases.
To interpret and apply legislation; to settle legal disputes; one judge per member state; to sit as the full court; do so publicly and impartially; to appoint to the Court of Justice by joint agreement; to cope with the large number of cases; to be attached to the Court of Justice; to give rulings on certain kinds of case; to adjudicate in disputes; preliminary ruling procedure; to be in any doubt about the interpretation or validity of a law; to investigate the allegations; to be found to be at fault; to directly and adversely affect them as individuals; declare the law null and void: to have this failure to act officially recorded; to submit to the registry; to be assigned to each case; deliberate and deliver their judgment; dissenting opinions.
4. Find the English equivalents to the following words and phrases.
Виносити різні постанови з однакових питань; робити, що вимагає закон; заради результативності; надати обґрунтовані рішення по справах; люди, чия неупередженість поза сумнівами; суд першої інстанції; позови, подані приватними особами; передача справ для попереднього рішення; законність будь-якого закону ЄС; справи, що стосуються неспроможності виконати зобов’язання; не виконувати рішення; накладати штраф; справи про скасування; який втратив законну силу; справи, що стосуються бездіяльності; у певних умовах; подавати скаргу в суд; подати письмову заяву; правове підґрунтя справи.
5. Match the definition in the right column to the word in the left.
6. Fill in the gaps with the suitable word. A:
Action; beyond reasonable doubt;allegation; comply; references;adjudicated; efficiency;competition; assigned; lodged; opinion; deliberated
1. The court handed down (офіційно оголосити) its _________. 2. In economic analysis, ____________ comes in several forms, each sometimes defined by the degree of power companies have to change market prices by changing their output. 3. If you join the club, you must __________ with its rules. 4. She _________ an application with several employment agencies. 5. He brought legal _______ against his neighbor. 6. The future relations of the two countries could now be _________ on with a hope of settlement. 7. He was __________ a bankrupt yesterday by Mr. Spring Rice. 8. Their ___________ that she had taken the money proved to be false. 9. The court _________ counsel to the defendant. 10. Nothing more powerfully promotes the ________ of labour than an abundance of fertile land. 11. ______________ is the standard required by the prosecution in most criminal cases and means that the proposition presented by the government must be proven to the extent that there is no doubt in the mind of a reasonable person that the defendant is guilty. 12. The statement contains several ________ to the new labour code.
B: Fill in the appropriate proposition or adverb where necessary.
1. Do it … John's sake. 2. He was found guilty … reasonable doubt. 3. I can't cope … such a pile of work … this weekend. 4. A leading citizen has been asked to adjudicate … the disagreement …. the city council and the workers. 5. She made no references … her opponents. 6. Allegations …fraud were made … him. 7. He promised to comply fully … my requests. 8. An experienced detective was assigned … the case. 9. I should seriously consider … which department of the law I was to attach myself. 10. They submitted their report … the parliamentary committee. 11. Many good men have dissented … the opinion … the Church.
7. Decide if the following statements are true or false. Correct those, which are false. Use the text and your own knowledge.
1. The judicial branch of the EU consists of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) and the Court of First Instance. 2. Together they interpret and apply the treaties and the law of the UNO. 3. The ECJ mainly deals with cases taken by individuals and companies directly before the EU's courts. 4.The Court of First Instance primarily deals with cases taken by member states, the institutions and cases referred to the EU's courts by the courts of member states. 5. The quorum for the full Court is 20. 6. The Court of Justice may determine whether a Member State has fulfilled its obligations under Community law. 6. By an action for annulment under Article 230 of the Consolidated Treaty Establishing the European Community, the applicant seeks the annulment of a measure (regulation, directive or decision) adopted by an institution. 7. The Court of Justice has no jurisdiction over actions brought by a Member State against the European Parliament and/or against the Council or brought by one Community institution against another. 8. The Court of Justice and the Court of First Instance cannot review the legality of a failure to act on the part of a Community institution.
8. Answer the questions.
1. When was the Court of Justice of the European Communities set up? 2. What is its job? 3. Who composes the Court? 4. When does the Court sit as the full court? 5. What is the functions of advocates-general? 6. Why was the Court of First Instance established? 7. What is the function of the European Civil Service Tribunal? 8. What are the responsibilities of the Court of Justice? 9. What does a reference for a preliminary ruling mean? 10. What is meant by actions for failure to fulfil an obligation? 11. When are actions for annulment brought? 12. When are actions for failure to act brought? 13. What is the procedure of examining the case?
9. Translate into English.
Європейський Суд – одна з п’яти офіційних інституцій Європейського Союзу, найвищий суд ЄС, рішення якого не можуть бути оскаржені.
Суд Європейських Спільнот в Люксембурзі був однією з перших інституцій Спільноти, заснованих Паризьким договором 1951 року. Римський договір 1957 року зобов’язав його наглядати за виконанням усіх європейських договорів.
До складу Суду ЄС входять по одному судді від кожної держави-члена (після останнього розширення – 27), яким допомагають вісім генеральних адвокатів. Суддів і адвокатів призначають за загальної згоди держав-членів на шестирічний термін. Суд може засідати в палатах або збиратися на пленарні засідання для розгляду особливо важливих чи складних справ та на вимогу держав-членів.
Він виконує дві основні функції:
· перевіряє на відповідність договорам документи, видані європейськими інституціями та урядами;
· тлумачить право Спільноти на запит національних судів.
10. Additional Text. Translate into English in writing.
Court of Justice
The Treaty of Lisbon will rename the Court of Justice of the European Communities the ‘Court of Justice of the European Union’.
A new ‘emergency’ procedure will be introduced into the preliminary reference system, which will allow the Court of Justice to act ‘with the minimum of delay’ when a case involves an individual in custody.
The ECJ's jurisdiction will continue to be excluded from matters of foreign policy, though it will have new jurisdiction to review foreign policy sanction measures. It will also have jurisdiction over certain ‘Area of Freedom, Security and Justice’ (AFSJ) matters not concerning policing and criminal cooperation.
Court of First Instance
The Court of First Instance will be renamed the 'General Court'; and the term ‘Court of Justice of the European Union’ will officially designate the two courts, as along its specialised tribunals, taken together.
11. Write the annotation of the following article.
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