Posted by: lauraannwilson | February 19, 2015

Visit to the European Court of Justice – Friday 13 February 2015

European Court of Justice 1

Visit to the European Court of Justice – Friday 13 February 2015

On Friday 13 February 2015, I had the privilege of visiting the European Court of Justice. My visit was not a formal part of my internship. However, one of the wonderful aspects of the Catsan Centre Global Internship program is that interns are encouraged to reach out to stakeholders, and develop broad relationships during their interning period.

Given my interest in learning more about the European legal system, particularly that of the European Union, I was keen to organise a visit to the European Court of Justice. Luckily for me, I have received fantastic support from my Australian Mission colleagues, who supported my interest in the court and allowed me the opportunity to attend the court for the day.

Thanks also to Angela Ward, one of my lecturers on the LLM at Monash who now works at the EU Court, for hosting my visit.

The purpose of this blog is to provide a background on the court and my general impressions of the court.

Background on the European Court of Justice

What is the purpose of the Court?

The European Court of Justice is in Luxembourg City, Luxembourg. The Court interprets European Law. It aims to ensure that EU law is applied uniformly across all EU countries.

The Court hears matters between EU governments, institutions and individuals. Individuals are able to ask a Member State court to refer questions to the EU court if they believe that their rights have been infringed by an EU government or institution. EU States are also able to intervene on other States matters.

Composition of the Court

The Court consists of one sitting judge from each EU country.

There are nine Advocates General. The Advocate Generals’ role is to present the legal issues in a matter to the court for its consideration. The court has three courts: the Court of Justice, the General Court, and the Civil Service Tribunal. To date, the three courts have delivered approximately 28 000 judgments.

General impressions of the Court

The Court is stunning, to say the very least. It boasts modern architecture, stunning court rooms equipped with translation booths, and an extremely well stocked library.

A number of art works are exhibited at the court, including Auguste Rodin’s “The Thinker”. This sculpture is a lovely focus point as you walk along the corridor from the library to the court rooms.

I spent my day at the Court visiting various court rooms and researching in the Court’s library. I was impressed by the outstanding collection on human rights, and the wide availability of books in various languages. The library is a wonderful resource for lawyers and researchers alike.

Visiting the European Court of Justice further sparked my interest in European legal systems, particularly regarding human rights and international law. It has encouraged me to learn more about the European legal system. I am keen to incorporate European law and human rights in my future studies. I am particularly interested in further exploring the interaction between European law, human rights law and international law. I am particularly interested in exploring knowledge that can be shared by European courts with Australia.
I encourage readers who have an interest in European Union laws, European legal systems generally, and human rights, to read up on the Court, and to visit if you can.
Further information:

Fun Facts on the European Court of Justice
1. Francis Jacobs was the second longest serving Advocate General of the European Court of Justice. Advocate General Jacobs provided a number of Opinions concerning fundamental human rights, and is considered to be an eminent expert on human rights and the European Court of Human Rights (Strasbourg).
2. The decisions of the European Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights (Strasbourg) frequently align. These courts frequently refer to the judgements and decision of the other court as a reference point.
3. EU law consists of a legally binding Charter of Fundamental Rights. While it is envisaged under the Treaty establishing the European Union, as amended by the Lisbon Treaty, the EU Court recently ruled that the current instrument of negotiation required amendment in order to comply with EU law.

Me European Crt Justice

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