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The European Court of Justice’s Financial Accountability: How the European Parliament Incites and Monitors Judicial Reform through the Budgetary Process


European Court of Justice – European Parliament – Accountability through the budgetary process – Fostering the European Court of Justice’s democratic legitimacy through financial accountability – Accountability for how the European Court of Justice organises the institution and conducts its procedures – Efficiency versus quality as yardsticks to assess the Court’s performance – The European Parliament’s ambivalent practice of focusing solely on judicial efficiency – Proposals how the Parliament could take the quality of the European Court of Justice’s judicial process into account when assessing the Court – A different use of judicial statistics – Inciting quality-oriented reforms such as the introduction of amicus curiae participation and bilingual (French/English) deliberations

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Senior Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, Heidelberg. This article has profited greatly from comments and critique from members of Armin von Bogdandy’s Dienstagsrunde and from participants at the Brno (June 2014) and Prague (October 2015) workshops on the ‘Politics of Judicial Accountability and Independence’, in particular Andreas Føllesdal, David Kosař, Jan Komárek and Robert Zbíral. I am moreover indebted to Antoine Vauchez for his advice. All mistakes are my own.

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1 The Court of Justice is part of the larger institution, the ‘Court of Justice of the European Union’, comprising the Court of Justice and the General Court.

2 From the vast literature on the topic see Arnull A., The European Union and Its Court of Justice (Oxford University Press 2006); Alter K., The European Court’s Political Power (Oxford University Press 2009).

3 Krenn C., Legitimacy in the Making. The Procedural and Organizational Law of the European Court of Justice (Dissertation, Frankfurt am Main 2017); Adams M. et al. (eds.), Judging Europe’s Judges. The Legitimacy of the Case Law of the European Court of Justice (Hart 2013).

4 de Witte B., ‘Democratic Adjudication in Europe – How Can the European Court of Justice Be Responsive to the Citizens?’, in M. Dougan et al. (eds.), Empowerment and Disempowerment of the European Citizen (Hart 2012) p. 129.

5 Alemanno A. and Stefan O., ‘Openness at the Court of Justice of the European Union: Toppling a Taboo’, 51 CMLR (2014) p. 97 .

6 See Bovens M., ‘Analysing and Assessing Accountability: A Conceptual Framework’, 13 ELJ (2007) p. 447 at p. 450. To be sure, if accountability were defined more broadly, as some scholars do, including, for instance, ex ante mechanisms such as the selection of judges, it could have a further analytical field of application. However, it would significantly lose conceptual distinctness and stretch the notion beyond its conventional use; see, also in this vein, Kosař D., Perils of Judicial Self-Government in Transitional Societies. Holding the Least Accountable Branch to Account (Cambridge University Press 2016) p. 34-35 .

7 For the critique as regards the ECJ, see J.H.H. Weiler, ‘Epilogue: Judging the Judges – Apology and Critique’, in Adams et al., supra n. 3, p. 235 at p. 247-251.

8 The universal success of the social institution of dispute settlement is dependent on the independence of the decision-maker ex ante and mechanisms that ensure that it is not drawn into question ex post. Otherwise, the very function of settling a dispute could not be fulfilled; see Shapiro M., Courts. A Comparative and Political Analysis (University of Chicago Press 1981) p. 2 . Therefore, holding judges accountable for corruption is uniformly accepted as a normative standard. Conversely, accountability mechanisms well known from the political branches of government, such as regular re-election campaigns are rare phenomena and highly controversial. The problematic character of judicial campaigns is widely discussed in the U.S.; see ‘Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Elected Judges’, 23 February 2015, <>, visited 15 April 2017.

9 Kosař, supra n. 6, p. 1.

10 See the study by Transparency International: Hancisse L. et al., The European Union Integrity System (Transparency International EU Office 2014) p. 129 ; even during its early years, at a time when judicial independence was hardly on the political agenda, archival research has not found a single incident where judges were influenced, as regards concrete cases, in the process of judicial decision-making; see, in detail, V. Fritz, Contribution à l’histoire de la Cour de Justice de l’Union européenne à travers des biographies historiques de ses premiers membres (1952-1972) (Doctoral Thesis, Aix-Marseille 2014) p. 146.

11 See Art. 6 of the Court’s Statute.

12 Between 2004 and 2013 the immunity of a Court of Justice judge or Advocate General has been lifted ten times; only one included a request by a third party; Hancisse et al., supra n. 10, p. 129.

13 For examples see ECJ 1 June 1961, Case 15/60, Simon v Court of Justice (annulling a decision by the Court’s President to withdraw a separation allowance from a Court official); CFI 8 June 2009, Case T-498/07 P, Erika Krcova v Court of Justice of the European Communities (on the non-renewal of contract of a juriste-linguiste); CFI 2 April 1998, Case T-86/97, Réa Apostolidis v Court of Justice of the European Communities (on alleged mobbing and a consequent suspension from promotion).

14 Court of Justice of the European Union, ‘2012 discharge questionnaire to the European Court of Justice’, p. 4; for the competences of OLAF as regards the Court of Justice of the European Union and the modalities of their cooperation see, ‘Décision de la Cour du 12 juillet 2011 portant modification de la décision du 26 octobre 1999 relative aux conditions et modalités des enquêtes internes en matière de lutte contre la fraude, la corruption et toute activité illégale préjudiciable aux intérêts des Communautés.’

15 European Parliament, ‘Discharge decision for the financial year 2000’ [2002] OJ L158/66, lit. B (‘the concept of value for money is of vital importance in assessing the performance of all EU institutions’).

16 Documents have been received through the transparency regimes of both the European Parliament (public access request A(2015)11941) and the Court of Justice of the European Union (access to documents request 0017/2015D).

17 Art. 78 of the European Coal and Steel Community Treaty; see further Delvaux L., La Cour de Justice de la Communauté Européenne du Charbon et de l’Acier. Exposé sommaire et des principes (Pichon & Durand-Auzias 1956) p. 14 .

18 Zipcy A., ‘La commission des présidents’, in A. Mackenzie Stuart (ed.), XXXV Anni. 1952-1987 (Offices des Publications des Communautés Européennes 1987) p. 165 at p. 166-168 (describing how the other members of the Commission, in particular Jean Monnet, representing the High Authority, were little interested in the technicalities of the budgetary process).

19 The implementation of the budget was controlled by an accountant, but in practice this was a very modest exercise of accountability; for an example see U.J. Vaes, ‘Rapport du commissaire aux comptes (1 juillet 1956 au 30 juin 1957)’, <>, visited 15 April 2017.

20 In particular by strengthening the role of the European Parliament. Before 1975 the Council dominated the budgetary process. It had the competence to decide on the budget, and grant discharge on its implementation. Proposals for amendment by the European Parliament were generally ignored. See Rossi M., Europäisches Parlament und Haushaltsverfassungsrecht. Eine kritische Betrachtung der parlamentarischen Haushaltsbefugnisse (Nomos 1997) p. 18 and p. 28-30.

21 In detail, Laffan B., ‘Auditing and accountability in the European Union’, 10 Journal of European Public Policy (2003) p. 762 .

22 See Grass R. and Escobar A. Calot, ‘2004-2014: Une période déterminante pour les ressources de l’institution’, in A. Tizzano et al. (eds.), La Cour de justice de l’Union européenne sous la présidence de Vassilios Skouris (2003-2015). Liber amicorum Vassilios Skouris (Bruylant 2015) p. 227 at p. 228-232.

23 The budget is set up and decided for the ECJ and the General Court together. In this article I focus on the ECJ only. The complex internal governance issues in coordinating the ECJ and the General Court are discussed by van der Woude M., ‘Towards a European Council of the Judiciary: Some Reflections on the Administration of the EU Courts’, in F. Goudappel and E.M.H. Hirsch Ballin (eds.), Democracy and Rule of Law in the European Union. Essays in Honour of Jaap W. de Zwaan (Springer 2016) p. 63 .

24 Kohler C., ‘Zur institutionellen Stellung des Gerichtshofes der Europäischen Gemeinschaften. Status, Ausstattung, Haushalt’, 30 Europäische Grundrechte-Zeitschrift (2003) p. 117 at p. 121.

25 See Rossi, supra n. 20.

26 These reports are not to be confounded with the annual reports (also known as Synopsis of the Work of the Court of Justice, the General Court and the Civil Service Tribunal) published on the Court’s website, which focus on the Court’s judicial activity. While the annual ‘management reports’ have traditionally not been officially published by the Court, the most recent report can be found online; available at <>, visited 15 April 2017.

27 Formally, according to Art. 319 TFEU, discharge is granted to the Commission for the implementation of the budget. In practice, however, the European Parliament grants individual discharge to those in charge of implementing the budget within the specific institution. The Registrar is, under the supervision of the ECJ’s president, responsible for the implementation of the Court of Justice of the European Union’s budget.

28 Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002 of 25 June 2002 on the Financial Regulation applicable to the general budget of the European Communities.

29 Since 2003 there is, every year, a resolution addressing specifically the Court of Justice of the European Union, the first being the ‘Resolution of the European Parliament containing the comments accompanying the decision concerning discharge in respect of the implementation of the general budget of the European Union for the 2001 financial year – Section IV – Court of Justice’, [2003] OJ L148/46.

30 Theato D., ‘Die Haushaltskontrolle durch das EP und sein Beitrag zur Entwicklung eines europäischen Sanktionsrechts’, in J. Drexl et al. (eds.), Europäische Demokratie (Nomos 1999) p. 111 .

31 Magiera S.‚ ‘Art. 319 AEUV’, in E. Grabitz et al. (eds.), Das Recht der Europäischen Union: EUV/AEUV (Beck 2015) mn. 9.

32 Art. 166 para. 1 of the 2012 Financial Regulation (EU, Euratom) No. 966/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council [2012] OJ L298/1.

33 Id., para. 2.

34 As regards the Court of Justice of the European Union, this was threatened by the European Parliament in its 2004 discharge resolution, see [2004] OJ L330/141, point 15, regarding the non-official car use by members of the court and the system of salary weightings.

35 For such a view, see Grass and Calot Escobar, supra n. 22, p. 227.

36 On the political nature of the European Parliament’s budgetary powers see Harlow C., Accountability in the European Union (Oxford University Press 2002) p. 128-130 .

37 Yarwood D.L. and Canon B.C., ‘On the Supreme Court’s annual trek to the Capitol’, 63 Judicature (1979-1980) p. 322 .

38 See notably, Toma E.F., ‘Congressional Influence and the Supreme Court. The Budget as a Signaling Device’, 20 Journal of Legal Studies (1991) p. 131 (observing a correlation between budget allocation and Congress’ approval for the Supreme Court’s decisions); for such a framing as regards international courts, see Ingadottir T., ‘The Financing of International Adjudication’, in C. Romano et al. (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of International Adjudication (Oxford University Press 2014) p. 594 .

39 See Douglas J.W. and Hartley R.E., ‘The Politics of Court Budgeting in the States: Is Judicial Independence Threatened by the Budgetary Process’, 63 PAR (2003) p. 441 (presenting empirical evidence for a perceived threat to independence in some state courts through the budgetary process); on international courts, Oellers-Frahm K., ‘Der institutionelle Rahmen: Status, Ausstattung und Personalhoheit internationaler Gerichte’, Europäische Grundrechte Zeitschrift (2003) p. 107 at p. 117; in a similar vein Mahoney P., ‘Separation of Powers in the Council of Europe: The Status of the European Court of Human Rights vis-à-vis the Authorities of the Council of Europe’, 24 HRLJ (2003) p. 152 at p. 157-159.

40 European Parliament, ‘Discharge decision for the financial year 2000’, [2002] OJ L158/66, para. 19.

41 European Court of Auditors, ‘Special Report no 5/2000’, [2000] OJ C109.

42 European Parliament, ‘Discharge decision for the financial year 2002’, [2004] OJ L330/140, paras. 5-15.

43 This is notably performed by the European Court of Auditors, for the last report, ‘Annual Report on the Implementation of the Budget’ [2014] OJ C398/241.

44 Court of Justice of the European Union, ‘2013 discharge. Questionnaire to the European Court of Justice’, p. 10.

45 European Parliament, ‘Discharge decision for the financial year 2003’, [2005] OJ L196/43, para. 9.

46 Id.

47 Court of Justice of the European Union, ‘2014 discharge: Questionnaire to European Court of Justice’, p. 6.

48 Seminal, for the former, Habermas J., Faktizität und Geltung. Beiträge zur Diskurstheorie des Rechts und des demokratischen Rechtsstaats (Suhrkamp 1998) p. 45-60 ; for the latter, Luhmann N., Legitimation durch Verfahren (Luchterhand 1969) pp. 11-53 ; for a conceptualisation of procedural and organisational law in courts from this double perspective, see Krenn, supra n. 3.

49 The political nature of procedural and organisational law is a basic tenet of comparative studies; see, notably, Damaška M., The Faces of Justice and State Authority. A Comparative Approach to the Legal Process (Yale University Press 1986) (reconstructing ideal types of procedural systems that reflect political choices as to the form and structure of public authority); and Cappelletti M., Processo e ideologie (Il Mulino 1969).

50 Following up the observations or recommendations in the discharge resolution of the European Parliament of 3 April 2014 for the year 2012. Replies given and steps taken by the Court of Justice. (‘The Court has made every effort to act upon [the observations/recommendations expressed by the European Parliament] as soon as possible.’)

51 See, for instance, Court of Justice of the European Union, Annual Activity Report for the 2014 Financial Year (April 2015), p. 67.

52 European Parliament, Report drawn up on behalf of the Committee on Budgets on Section IV – Court of Justice – of the draft general budget of the European Communities for the financial year 1983 (25 October 1982) Document 1-781/82.

53 See, for instance, the Court’s statement that ‘budgetary resources relating to IT functioning and development should be preserved by the budgetary authority, as done thanks to the amendments supported by the European Parliament during last years.’ See ‘Discharge 2011: questions from M. Kalfin’, p. 4.

54 European Parliament, ‘Discharge resolution for the financial year 2013’, [2015] OJ L255/118, para. 9.

55 European Parliament, ‘Discharge resolution for the financial year 2004’, [2006] OJ L340/34, para. 8.

56 European Parliament, ‘Discharge resolution for the financial year 2012’, [2014] OJ L266/124, para. 11.

57 Court of Justice of the European Union, Annual Activity Report for the Financial Year 2006, 13 February 2007, p. 57.

58 European Parliament, ‘Discharge Resolution for the Financial Year 2003’, [2005] OJ L196/43, para. 9.

59 Id.

60 European Parliament, ‘Discharge resolution for the financial year 2012’, [2014] OJ L266/124, para. 9.

61 European Parliament, ‘Discharge resolution for the financial year 2005’, [2008] OJ C74E/161, para. 16.

62 Report by the Working Party on the Future of the European Communities’ Court System (January 2000) (‘Due Report’), <>, visited 15 April 2017; see further Dashwood A. and Johnston A. (eds.), The Future of the Judicial System of the European Union (Hart 2001).

63 D. Sarmiento, ‘The Skouris legacy and the Skouris Court’, Despite our Differences, 8 October 2015, <>, 15 April 2017.

64 See, in detail on the 2012 reform, Gaudissart M.-A., ‘La refonte du règlement de procédure de la Cour de justice’, 3 C.D.E. (2013) p. 605 at p. 606; Gutiérrez-Fons J., ‘Le nouveau règlement de procédure de la Cour de justice au regard du contentieux de l’Union européenne’, in S. Mahieu (ed.), Contentieux de l’Union européenne. Questions choisies (Larcier 2014) p. 41 at p. 41-42.

65 Since the 1980s it is increasingly applied to public organisations, see Pollitt C., ‘Beyond the Managerial Model: The Case for Broadening Performance Assessment in Government and the Public Services’, 2 Financial Accountability and Management (1986) p. 155 at p. 156.

66 Court of Justice of the European Union, ‘Discharge 2011: Questions from M. Kalfin’, p. 2.

67 Court of Justice of the European Union, Annual Report 2003, Table 8.

68 See, Bobek M., ‘Talking Now? Preliminary Rulings in and from the New Member States’, 21 MJ (2014) p. 782 .

69 Timmermans C., ‘The European Union’s Judicial System’, 41 CMLR (2004) p. 393 at p. 405.

70 Court of Justice of the European Union, Annual Report 2015, p. 88

71 Commenting on the 2012 procedural reform: Wägenbaur M., ‘Die EU-Gerichtsbarkeit – Fasse Dich kurz?!’, in D. Heid et al. (eds.), Festschrift für Manfred A. Dauses zum 70. Geburtstag (Beck 2014) p. 461 (praising the Court’s reforms in light of the right to an effective remedy, and seeing the concern for a speedy procedure as a leitmotiv of the European judiciary).

72 Bobek M., ‘Of Feasibility and Silent Elephants. The Legitimacy of the Court of Justice through the Eyes of National Courts’, in Adams et al. (eds.), supra n. 3, p. 197 at p. 214.

73 Vauchez A., ‘À quoi « tient » la cour de justice des communautés européennes? Stratégies commémoratives et esprit de corps transnational’, 60 RFSP (2010) p. 247 ; Höpner M., ‘Der Europäische Gerichtshof als Motor der Integration: Eine akteursbezogene Erklärung’, 21 Berliner Journal für Rechtssoziologie (2011) p. 203 .

74 See Homans G.C., The Human Group (Routledge 1951) p. 79 .

75 On this, see the first-hand experience by Riese O., ‘Erfahrungen aus der Praxis des Gerichtshofs der Europäischen Gemeinschaft für Kohle und Stahl’, Deutsche Richterzeitung (1958) p. 270 at p. 271.

76 Vauchez A., ‘Le magistère de la Cour – une sociologie politique’, in P. Mbongo and A. Vauchez (eds.), Dans la fabrique du droit européen (Bruylant 2009) p. 217 at p. 232.

77 See supra nn. 58-61.

78 Code of Conduct [2007] OJ C223/1.

79 Code of Conduct for Members and former Members of the Court of Justice of the European Union [2016] OJ C483/1.

80 Court of Justice of the European Union, ‘2014 discharge. Questionnaire to European Court of Justice’, p. 6.

81 For the first time, during the 2014 budgetary discharge procedure, the ECJ revealed to the European Parliament a list of 158 outside activities of its members. They range from conducting exams at the University of Bucharest to participating at a lunch at the French embassy in Brussels, to representing the Court at the ‘Law, Justice and Development Week 2014’ in Washington D.C; see Court of Justice of the European Union, ‘Décharge 2014. Questionnaire adressé à la Cour de justice. Complément de réponse aux questions n° 9 et 10: Liste des activités exercées par les Membres des trois juridictions ayant eu un impact sur le budget de l’Union européenne’.

82 See Skouris V., ‘Höchste Gerichte an ihren Grenzen – Bemerkungen aus der Perspektive des Gerichtshofes der Europäischen Gemeinschaften’, in R. Grote et al. (eds.), Die Ordnung der Freiheit. Festschrift für Christian Starck zum siebzigsten Geburtstag (Mohr Siebeck 2007) p. 991 at p. 997.

83 Court of Justice of the European Union, ‘2013 discharge questionnaire to the European Court of Justice’, p. 5.

84 Id.

85 This has been revealed by journalist Seytre D., ‘Pour une liste de juges retardaires?Le Jeudi (6 June 2013) p. 11 (citing from an internal memorandum).

86 Sharpston E., ‘Making the Court of Justice of the European Union More Productive’, 21 Maastricht Journal of European and Comparative Law (2014) p. 763 at p. 766.

87 See Alemanno A. and Pech L., ‘Thinking Justice Outside the Docket: A Critical Assessment of the Reform of the EU’s Court System’, 54 CMLR (2017) p. 129 at p. 163.

88 Even some conceptions of efficiency take the quality of the judicial process into account. For the Council of Europe, for instance, judicial efficiency means ‘the delivery of quality decisions within a reasonable time following fair consideration of the issues.’ See the ‘Recommendation of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on Judges: Independence, Efficiency and Responsibilities’, CM/Rec (2010)12 of 17 November 2010, no 31.

89 See notably, de Búrca G., ‘After the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights: The Court of Justice as a Human Rights Adjudicator?’, 20 MJ (2013) p. 168 (arguing that the Court’s increased role as a fundamental rights adjudicator needs to be reflected in a more open style of reasoning, enhanced transparency and participation); and De Witte, supra n. 4, at p. 134.

90 Modest signs that concerns beyond efficiency might play a role for the Parliament in the budgetary process are discernible. The Parliament has referred to values such as geographical balance in the Court’s personnel or safeguarding the environment; see European Parliament, ‘Discharge resolution for the financial year 2012’, [2014] OJ L266/124 (‘Regrets the fact that the Member States which have joined in the last 10 years are not represented at Director-General and Director levels in the institution; reiterates the need for a greater geographical balance at those levels of the administration […]’) and Court of Justice of the European Union, ‘2012 discharge questionnaire to the European Court of Justice’, p. 17.

91 See, for instance, the report by the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice ‘Measuring the quality of justice’, CEPEJ(2016)12 (7 December 2016); the criteria developed by the ‘International Framework for Court Excellence’ (March 2013), <>, visited 15 April 2017; or the contribution by Jean Marc Sauvé, ‘Les critères de la qualité de la Justice’ at the occasion of the Celebration of 20 years of the EU General Court on 25 September 2009; <>, visited 15 April 2017.

92 Originally found in common law jurisdictions, the institution of amicus curiae has spread to international courts, and is also increasingly employed in civil law jurisdictions, notably in constitutional and supreme courts. It is practised in highest courts from Latin America, such as in the constitutional courts of Brazil and Peru, or the Argentinian Supreme Court, to Europe where the French Conseil d’État or the Polish Constitutional Court have pursued a similar path. With these and further examples, see Krislov S., ‘Amici Curiae in Civil Law Jurisdictions’, 122 Yale Law Journal (2013) p. 1653 at p. 1659-1663. In the European Court of Human Rights amicus curiae participation has become one of its defining traits: Cichowski R.A., ‘Civil Society and the European Court of Human Rights’, in J. Christoffersen and M. Rask Madsen (eds.), The European Court of Human Rights between Law and Politics (Oxford University Press 2011) p. 77 at p. 95.

93 See Maultzsch F., Streitentscheidung und Normbildung durch den Zivilprozess. Eine rechtsvergleichende Untersuchung zum deutschen, englischen und US-amerikanischen Recht (Mohr Siebeck 2010) p. 424-427 (describing potential inaccuracies and bias in the material provided by amici as problems and transparency and competition between amici as remedies).

94 Lynch K.J., ‘Best Friends? Supreme Court Law Clerks on Effective Amicus Curiae Briefs’, 20 Journal of Law and Politics (2004) p. 33 at p. 36, 41-42 (underpinning her analysis with interviews of U.S. Supreme Court law clerks on the usefulness of amicus curiae briefs).

95 Simmons O. Scott, ‘Picking Friends From the Crowd: Amicus Participation as Political Symbolism’, 42 Connecticut Law Review (2009) p. 185 at p. 203-205.

96 For instance, in the N.S. case, where the Court decided that an asylum seeker cannot be transferred to another EU country when systemic deficiencies exist in its protection of fundamental rights, it relied heavily on submissions by non-governmental organisations in European Court of Human Rights proceedings in a similar case and on the submissions of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Advice on Individual Rights in Europe, the Equality and Human Rights Commission and Amnesty International that had been granted leave to intervene in the domestic proceedings; ECJ 21 December 2011, Joined Cases C-411/10 and C-493/10, N. S. v Secretary of State for the Home Department and M. E. v Refugee Applications Commissioner and Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, para. 90.

97 In preliminary reference proceedings (Art. 267 TFEU), if third parties had been granted leave to intervene in the domestic proceedings from which the reference for a preliminary ruling originated, these third parties can also intervene in the ECJ proceedings; see, recently, ECJ 6 October 2015, Case C-61/14, Orizzonte Salute – Studio Infermieristico Associato v Azienda Pubblica di Servizi alla persona San Valentino – Città di Levico Terme, para. 33.

98 Recital 15 of Council Directive 2004/83/EC of 29 April 2004 on Minimum Standards for the Qualification and Status of Third Country Nationals or Stateless Persons as Refugees or as Persons Who Otherwise Need International Protection and the Content of the Protection Granted [2004] OJ L304/12.

99 In cases ECJ 19 December 2012, C-364/11, Mostafa Abed El Karem El Kott v Bevándorlási és Állampolgársági Hivatal; and ECJ Joined Cases N.S., supra n. 96 (alongside non-governmental organisations such as Amnesty International and Advice on Individual Rights in Europe).

100 Carrera S. and Petkova B., ‘The Potential of Civil Society and Human Rights Organizations Through Third-Party Interventions Before the European Courts: The EU’s Area of Freedom, Security and Justice’, in M. Dawson et al. (eds.), Judicial Activism at the European Court of Justice (Edward Elgar 2013) p. 233 at p. 256-257.

101 H. Storey, ‘It takes two to tango’ (Association of the Councils of State and the Supreme Administrative Jurisdictions of the European Union Seminar Brussels 16-17 December 2010), <>, visited 15 April 2017, pp. 3-4 ( ‘We were particularly concerned that matters to do with an international treaty – the Refugee Convention – were going to be decided by a group of non-specialist judges sitting in Luxembourg in the context of procedures that minimized the chances of a fully informed judicial consideration […]’).

102 See the critical comments by the Council of the Bars and Law Societies of the European Union, ‘Interventions and Amicus Curiae Briefs in Proceedings Before the ECJ and the CJI’ (March 2003), <>, visited 15 April 2017.

103 See the open letter to then-ECJ President Skouris by the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure, a non-profit organisation devoted to establishing a free market in information technology, on the occasion of the refusal of the Court to accept an amicus curiae brief in the Opinion procedure (the request for an Opinion was finally withdrawn by the Commission) on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), <>, visited 15 April 2017.

104 For a concrete proposal see Krenn, supra n. 3.

105 Art. 253, para. 6 TFEU.

106 Schiemann K., ‘The Functioning of the Court of Justice in an Enlarged Union and the Future of the Court’, in A. Arnull et al. (eds.), Continuity and Change in EU Law. Essays in Honour of Sir Francis Jacobs (Oxford University Press 2008) p. 3 at p. 8-11.

107 Id., p. 9; see also Editorial Comments, ‘The Court of Justice in the Limelight Again’, 45 CMLR (2008) p. 1571 at p. 1577.

108 Skouris, supra n. 82, p. 997.

109 See Hunnings N. March, The European Courts (Cartermill 1996) p. 65 .

110 Mancini G. Federico and Keeling D. T., ‘Language, Culture and Politics in the Life of the European Court of Justice’, 1 Columbia Journal of European Law (1994) p. 397 at p. 398; see Riese O., ‘Das Sprachenproblem in der Praxis des Gerichtshofes der europäischen Gemeinschaften’, in E. von Caemmerer (ed.), Vom deutschen zum europäischen Recht. Festschrift für Heinz Dölle (Mohr 1963) p. 507 .

111 McAuliffe K., ‘Hybrid Texts and Uniform Law? The Multlingual Case Law of the Court of Justice of the European Union’, 24 International Journal for the Semiotics of Law (2011) p. 97 at p. 107.

112 Zhang A. Huyue, ‘The Faceless Court’, 38(1) University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Law (2016) p. 43 , <>, visited 15 April 2017.

113 From a sample drawn by Huyue Zhang it appeared that the three graduate schools or universities most attended by référendaires were the College d’Europe, Université Panthéon-Assas and Université Panthéon-Sorbonne, see Huyue Zhang, supra n. 112, p. 26.

114 On the general trend, see Fishman J.A., ‘The New Linguistic Order113 Foreign Policy (1998-1999) p. 26 .

115 See Richter D., Sprachenordnung und Minderheitenschutz im Schweizerischen Bundesstaat (Springer 2005) p. 338 and 1023-1024. This practice applies also to Swiss public law conferences, where at least a passive command of French and German is expected, see Biaggini G., ‘Die Staatsrechtswissenschaft und ihr Gegenstand: Wechselseitige Bedingtheiten am Beispiel der Schweiz’, in Helmuth Schulze-Fielitz (ed.), Staatsrechtslehre als Wissenschaft (Duncker & Humblot 2007) p. 267 at p. 269.

116 See Hirschl R., Towards Juristocracy. The Origins and Consequences of the New Constitutionalism (Harvard University Press 2004).

117 See, critically, Weiler J.H.H., ‘Epilogue: The Judicial Après Nice’, in G. de Búrca and J.H.H. Weiler (eds.), The European Court of Justice (Oxford University Press 2001) p. 215 at p. 216.

118 Describing his experiences in the drafting of the 2000 ‘Due Report’, see Due O., ‘Looking Backwards and Forwards’, in Amicale des référendaires et anciens référendaires de la Cour de justice et du tribunal de première instance des communautés européennes (ed.), La Cour de Justice des communautés européennes 1952-2002: Bilan et perspectives (Bruylant 2004) p. 25 at p. 31 (‘It was great fun for us to meet again like a party of old schoolboys and, in the beginning, we also acted as such’).

119 On the lack of such support from EU Member States, see Arnull A., ‘Me and My Shadow: The European Court of Justice and the Disintegration of European Union Law’, 31 Fordham International Law Journal (2007) p. 1174 .

120 Notably Parliament’s Committee on Legal Affairs, responsible for the process of amending the Court’s Statute, has played an important role in rationalising and making public the debate in the recent controversial process of doubling the number of General Court judges; in detail, Alemanno and Pech, supra n. 87, p. 144.

* Senior Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, Heidelberg. This article has profited greatly from comments and critique from members of Armin von Bogdandy’s Dienstagsrunde and from participants at the Brno (June 2014) and Prague (October 2015) workshops on the ‘Politics of Judicial Accountability and Independence’, in particular Andreas Føllesdal, David Kosař, Jan Komárek and Robert Zbíral. I am moreover indebted to Antoine Vauchez for his advice. All mistakes are my own.

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