You are on page 1of 2



For much of its existence, the ECJ

was the EU's least known institution.
far from the political fray in Brussels Located in Luxembourg,
and Strasbou;ffi; Court initially received
only gradually did the significance of the little attention.
courtt ;ri;;;;..ome apparent to the non-regar
As a result, the average Jength of proceedings
1975 to l4 months in 1985, ina
for a preliminary ruling rose from 6 months
the average lingth of a direa r.tio., in
1975 to 20 months in 1985' This
is why thi cou"rt of rirst Instance
i;;;; from 9 months in
(cFI) was set up, by virtue of
inrrodu..a- uy tr,. si"gr. rr-pean Act
ff};ji,irj; ill3:l|*ent (sEA); it actuaily opened its
As acknowledged in the preamble:ljlg
determination "to work togetfreiio p.omote s|a t:,1186), the Member States expressed their
recognized in the constitutions and democracy on the basii oi tt J trraamental
r"i"i tt. M;;.;tiltes, rights
"i in rhe convention for the protection
sociar charter, notabryrre;e;;;^
Treaty on the European Union (TEU, 'Maastricht tiiil.
over the years' the rules of law issued
r,c-r given extensive evidence of its
to protect "not only the member statei TS:
but also $v9 determination
trr.i."ruiionals. lndep.;J;;; of the legislation
,l,n:H:';A:?.:.9**unitv r'aw"ol ""1t i'"d;
"ourri""i i"fii,,ir"ir'ur, ... arso conrers
the sentences below'
ftll in the btank by changing the word.s in capitars
fr)'-:: into the correct grammaticar

1. The ECJ developed a concept

of European ....... before the member
gave substance to it in TEU. states CITIZEN
2. The Community law cannot be
overridden by domestic legaI........ . PROVIDE
3' Article 234 became a powerful toor
with which the ECJ could STRONG
Community law.
4' Advocates-general consider cases and GTIIDE
give opinions for the court,s
5. The ECJ,s rapidly increasing
caseload threatened to become....... MANAGE
6' The Member states are ........ of the
treaties establishing the European union.
7. The Court of Justice has
jurisdicrion to review the SIGN
brought by Member Stites. of decisions in acions
8. The ECJ considers cases related
to ......... infringements of the treaties.

Section B ECJ Case Law

B'l You are going to listen to an intentiew
with Dr-Rassell, a working
in Luxembourg, about
'::,:::;:1;;;['l;":y#*';]:#ttr'#:tid,h;iiliiis no,i*enx andleci)e whetherTh,y o,e

Section A The Role of ECJ

-\,.1 What do you already know about the European Court of Justice?
?:Lt your ideas and those of your colleagues in this mind map; the questions around the core may help you in
.;.".ing this.
where I

which European
working Court
language of Justice

what why

A.2 Now read the following text which contains information about the European Court of Justice (ECJ).
lhoose from sentences A-E the one which fits each gap. The first one has been done for you as an example.
-lrcre is one extra sentence, which you do not need to use. Compare your matching with your partner's, then
-:teck with your teacher.

A. Meanwhile, the Court's caseload jumped from 79 in 1970 to 433 in 1985.

B. As such the Court carries out tasks which, in the legal systems of the Member States, are
those of the constitutional courts, the courts of general jurisdiction or the administrative
courts and tribunals, as the case may be.
C.Fundamental human rights - an essential ingredient of any constitutional democracy -
underpin EC law.
D. The Court of First Instance has relieved the burden on the ECJ and has built up expertise
in its fields, hearing such cases as disputes with officials of institutions, legality of acts
affecting natural or legal persons, and arbitration in contracts concluded by the
Community in such areas as agriculture, fisheries and transport.
E. The ECJ, which is charged with ensuring that in the interpretation and application of the
Treaties the law is observed (Article 22OTEC), is responsible for monitoring the legality
of acts and the uniform application of the common rules.

.rs we know, The Union is governed by the rule of law and its very existence is conditional on
:e cognition by the Member States, by the institutions and by individuals of the binding nature of
.-s rules.
:re Court is called on to rule on direct actions brought by the Member States, by the institutions
.rd by individuals, to maintain close co-operation with national courts and tribunals through the
::eliminary ruling procedure, and to give opinions on certain agreements envisaged by the