Activity of the general court in 2018

AuthorCourt of Justice of the European Union
A| Activity of t he General Court in 2018
IN 2018
By Marc Jaeger, President of the Genera l Court
2018, the second full yea r since the reform of t he judicial archite cture of the Euro pean Union began , has
provided an insig ht into the new paradigm of ac tivity and func tioning of the General Cour t in the context of
the strateg ic objecti ves of that reform , under which the n umber of judges will g radually be doub led, with
the third and nal phase to be implemented in September 2019.
The General Courts composition has remained stable apart from the departure from oce of Judge Xuereb,
who was appointe d as Judge to the Court of Just ice on 8 October 2018. Since the n, pending the appointme nt
of a ju dg e re pl aci ng Jud ge Xue re b an d a ju dge du e u nde r t he rs t pha se of the re for m ( in wh ich 12 n ew jud ge s
were to be appointed from 25 December 2015 onw ards), the General Court has 4 5 members. 1
Following 2017, the rst year in w hich its new st ructure was implemented, and s trengthened by its new
resources, it wa s incumbent on the General Co urt to increase its pro ductivit y. An aim it has achieved, havi ng
decided 2 1 009 cases in 2018. Th is represents a new record and an inc rease of almost 13% as compared to
the previous yea r. Concurrently, there was a slight decre ase in the number of cases bro ught before the Court
(834 cases lod ged). The combination of the se facto rs has led to a subs tantial r eduction in the number of
pending cases (175 cases few er, a decre ase of almost 12%), which re turned to the same level as i n 2010.
Neverthe less, the c urrent situati on is dierent from that in 2010, since the Courts capacity to decide c ases
is muc h stronger and, a ccordingly, the disposition time is much lower (482 days in 2018 com pared to
900 days in 2010). The functioning of the General Court thus demonstrates that it is prepared to accommodate
a potential trans fer of competences from the Cour t of Justice.
The overal l duration of pro ceedings (20.0 mon ths for cases d ecided by judgment or order) has slightly
increased com pared to 2017. This was due to the disposal, in 2018, of a si gnicant number of competition
cases of such scop e and complexity tha t the duration of the respec tive proceedings was na turally far higher
than average.
Despite this sho rt-term factor, it is per tinent to note that th ese values remain at leve ls markedly
below those obs erved before the imple mentation of the reform of t he judicial architectur e of the European
Amid the year ’s statistical resu lts, it is also worth not ing the increase in the number of cas es decided by an
ex ten ded cham ber con sis ting of  ve j udge s, i n th e int ere st s of t he a uth ori ty, cons ist enc y, c lar ity and , ul tim atel y,
the quality o f the Court’s ca se-law. In 2018, 87 cases were dec ided by extended cham bers, that is to say 8.6%
of all cases close d, a proportion that i s four times higher than the av erage since 2009. In the years p receding
the reform, it b ecame necessar y, on account of the increasing b acklog of pending case s and lack of resources,
to forgo exten ded chambers to a cer tain extent, even th ough these had be en common between 1995 and
2005. The new s tructure of the General Cou rt has thus enabled the Court t o increase the number of cases
1|As at 31 December 2018.
2|Excluding applications for interim measures, which totalled 44 in 2018.
3|Excluding those 23 cases (rel ating to t wo group s of case s known as elect rical cab les and perindopr il), the average duration of
proceedin gs for the other 986 ca ses decided by judgm ent or order was 19.2 months . The impact of those 2 3 cases on the overal l
duration of p roceedings can t herefore be es timated at + 0.8 mon ths, that is to say + 4 %.

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