The European Free Trade Association Court (EFTA Court)

EFTA Court

It was created in 1994, its seat is in Luxembourg, and its Member States are Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. It is composed of 3 judges, one per Member State.

Its main task is to ensure the observance of the correct interpretation and application of the Law of the European Economic Area (EEA), taking into account that the EEA Law which has been adopted in the EFTA States is directly applicable in those States, and that it prevails over national law.

A reference for an advisory opinion gives the citizens the possibility of access to the EFTA Court through questions put by national courts in the context of a case pending before a national court. And, also, a natural or legal person addressee of a decision of directly concerned by a decision may bring an action directly before the EFTA Court.

Unlike advisory opinions, judgments in direct actions are binding.

Although English is the language mainly used in the proceedings, in the request for advisory opinions is possible to use the language of the national court.

Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU)

 European Union law takes precedence over national law and is to be applied in a uniform manner in all the Member States. In case of doubt about its interpretation, it is possible to bring an action before the CJEU, whose judgments are binding in all the Member States.

1952 is the year when the Court of Justice of the European Union has its origin, when the ECSC Court (European Coal and Steel Community) was established. Its seat is located in Luxembourg and its main task is focused on ensuring the observance of the European Law, in its interpretation and application, in all the Member States.

It is composed of:

  • The Court of Justice, formed by one Judge per Member State and 8 Advocates General, has jurisdiction in cases of:
  1. Preliminary rulings from national courts on the interpretation of the Treaties and Acts of the European Union.
  2. Direct actions for failure of a Member State to fulfil its obligations.
  3. Direct actions for annulment or for failure to act brought by a Union institution against another institution, or by a Member State against the European Parliament, the Council or the Commission, in stated subjects.
  4. Appeals against decisions of the General Court.
  5. The review of decisions of the General Court ruling on appeals brought against decisions of the Civil Service Tribunal
  • The General Court, composed of one Judge per Member State, has jurisdiction for all direct actions, except those for which the Court of Justice has exclusive jurisdiction.
  • The Civil Service Tribunal, formed by 7 Judges, with jurisdiction for hearing and solving disputes between the European Union and its servants, and, also between the staff of Eurojust, Europol and OHIM.

Any natural or legal person may bring an action before the General Court against an act or a regulatory act which is addressed to him/her or which concerns with him/her directly, complying with the legal requirements.

Concerning the language of the proceedings, any of the official languages of the European Union may be used, although, in principle, the language of the case is the one of the “applicant” and, for preliminary rulings, it is the language of the national court that has referred the question to the Court of Justice.