- Court of Justice of the European Communities
Court of Justice of the European Communities or European Court of Justicethe principal court of the European Union, charged with ensuring that in the interpretation and application of the treaties the law is observed. It is a collegiate body and elects its own President. It is made up of independent members and can act only by judgment. The system of preliminary ruling allowed the court much more material with which to state the law.It consists of 15 judges and nine Advocates General (Advocate General. It sits in six chambers of three or five judges, but when it hears a case brought by a member state or one of the other institutions, or when it has to give a preliminary ruling, it must sit in plenary session. It does not issue dissenting judgments. It has the following jurisdiction: to discover whether a member state has failed to fulfil an obligation under the treaty; to determine penalties in actions by natural or legal persons; to review the legality of the acts or failures to act by the Council and Commission at the request of a member state, to give preliminary rulings; to grant damages to persons complaining of damage caused by the institutions; to resolve disputes between the Communities and their employees; to act as court of appeal for the relatively new Court of First Instance. It has had a pivotal effect in European Community law.
Collins dictionary of law. W. J. Stewart. 2001.