23rd Sep 2023

EU court rebels denounce 'wasteful' hiring of new judges

  • Doubling the number of ECJ judges would prove costly and would disorganise the work of the court, critics say.

An informal hearing of European Court of Justice (ECJ) judges with MEPs on Tuesday (28 April) showed the backlog of cases is not as significant as feared, weakening the case for a controversial doubling of the number of judges.

The closed-door meeting in Strasbourg was organised by Portuguese Liberal MEP Antonio Marinho e Pinto in order to assess plans to increase the number of judges in the ECJ’s General Court, one of three chambers, from 28 to 56.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

Marinho e Pinto is working on reform of the ECJ, a legislative process which started four years ago.

The increase in judges, set to cost €23 million a year extra, was proposed by ECJ chief Vassilios Skouris on grounds of a higher workload.

But the step is opposed by ECJ judges, who say it is too expensive and would sink the court "into the morass of a more complex organisation".

The president of the General Court Marc Jaeger, the strongest opponent, presented the court judges’ position against the reform to MEPs on the legal affairs committee. Four other judges accompanied him.

ECJ president Skouris, who was expected to come, did not turn up. He had previously contested the parliament’s capacity to summon judges.

"Increasing, let alone doubling, the number of judges at the General Court is yesterday’s solution for yesterday’s problem," the four judges said in a written statement handed to the MEPs.

"The last thing the General Court needs is the creation of a Mexican army of new judges, supported by a reduced number of qualified personnel”.

The judges told MEPs that "progressive, reversible and more economical solutions" should be used to ensure a smooth treatment of thousands of cases addressed to the court.

They also contradicted the claim that the backlog of cases made the doubling necessary.

"As of the 23rd of April 2015, there are 1,311 cases pending before the General court," they said, adding that "512 cases of 2013 and 213 cases of 2014 have already been completed".

"There was a real problem with the backlog in 2010, but the improvement since then has been such that approximately 80 percent of that backlog has been liquidated and the balance is being reduced on a monthly basis," the four judges said.

"All documents and statements presented indicate very clearly that the problem of the backlog has largely disappeared," they added in a statement after the meeting.

"The legitimacy of doubling the judges then became extremely contestable and could easily become a very dangerous symbol of EU mismanagement of funds."


Orbán's 'revenge law' is an Orwellian crackdown on education

On Tuesday, the Hungarian parliament passed a troubling piece of legislation known by its critics as the 'revenge law', which aims to punish and intimidate teachers who dare to defy Viktor Orbán's regime. This law is a brutally oppressive tool.

Latest News

  1. Europe's energy strategy: A tale of competing priorities
  2. Why Greek state workers are protesting new labour law
  3. Gloves off, as Polish ruling party fights for power
  4. Here's the headline of every op-ed imploring something to stop
  5. Report: Tax richest 0.5%, raise €213bn for EU coffers
  6. EU aid for Africa risks violating spending rules, Oxfam says
  7. Activists push €40bn fossil subsidies into Dutch-election spotlight
  8. Europe must Trump-proof its Ukraine arms supplies

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Medical Devices Regulators Forum (IMDRF)Join regulators, industry & healthcare experts at the 24th IMDRF session, September 25-26, Berlin. Register by 20 Sept to join in person or online.
  2. UNOPSUNOPS begins works under EU-funded project to repair schools in Ukraine
  3. Georgia Ministry of Foreign AffairsGeorgia effectively prevents sanctions evasion against Russia – confirm EU, UK, USA
  4. International Medical Devices Regulators Forum (IMDRF)Join regulators & industry experts at the 24th IMDRF session- Berlin September 25-26. Register early for discounted hotel rates
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersGlobal interest in the new Nordic Nutrition Recommendations – here are the speakers for the launch
  6. Nordic Council of Ministers20 June: Launch of the new Nordic Nutrition Recommendations

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us