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Located in Luxembourg

27 judges Appointed by member states 6 years renewable term Must be independent and legally competent 1960s 20 judgements 2008 600 judgements Maastricht gave it new powers to fine. Cases are usually heard before chambers of three to five judges. The Court has a President, who is elected for a term of three years by all the Court judges. Unlike the United States Supreme Court, ECJ judges do not serve for life and there is no record of dissenting opinions.

What is the European Court of Justice?

Roles of the ECJ


Highest court in the European Union

Makes sure that EU treaties are being

upheld Interpretation of EU LAW Sorts disputes between member States No power over criminal or family but on economic issues Appeals

Decisions of the European Court


Nov 28th 2008

The right to claim against employers who

discriminate against them in refusing to offer flexible working. France fined 8.7 million over late laws on GM.(2008) Royal Mail versus European Commission Sick Pay (2009) ECJ rules against France in Labour freedom case

Decisions of the European Court


The European Court of Justice has ruled that

doctors' on-call time should be part of the 48-hour week if they have to sleep over at a hospital. European Court of Justice has said that Greece should be fined 2 million euros for failing to recover illegal state aid given to the struggling national airline Olympic Airways.

How powerful / important or significant is the ECJ?


Slowly getting more powers through the different

treaties ...maybe more with Lisbon T Sorts out disputes and interprets EU law Neutral and independent Supreme law making body In 2005 the ECJ passed 136 judgements against Member States for failing to fulfil their obligations, including seven against the UK. It allows all European citizens and nations to have equal rights in areas of ECJ jurisdiction

How powerful / important or significant is the ECJ?


ECJ rules in favour of QMV for data retention rules
The European Court of Justice has ruled that the Data

Retention Directive, requiring telecoms operators across the EU to keep phone and internet data for up to two years, is a single market rather than a justice and home affairs issue. Placing the law under single market provisions means that amendments will be decided by qualified majority voting rather than unanimity. The Irish government, supported by Slovakia, had argued that the data retention law had not been adopted on an appropriate legal basis.

Not so powerful / important ECJ ?


Unelected Legal expertise is not consistent across all member

states 6 year Terms ..would they give in to political pressure In the Pockets of the European Council as they are appointed by this council. Members States could leave and this leaves the ECJ powerless. The ECJ is a slow and cumbersome body that can hinder progress by the time it takes to deliberate cases Imposing European standards on member states challenges a nation's traditional legal practices

Not so powerful / important / significant ECJ ?


Confidence in the judges ..
Vassilios Skouris, the Greek who is president of the

ECJ, is an academic who never worked as a judge until he was appointed to the ECJ in 1999. After just four years experience on the euro-bench, he was made president of the court. A Finn, Allan Rosas, also sat in the case. He was never a judge until appointed to the ECJ.