Created by Article 221 of the Nice Treaty, the Grand Chamber is now the plenary session for Court judgements. In its discussion paper ahead of the Inter-Governmental Conference in 2000, the Court itself pointed to the risk where "any significant increase in the number of Judges might mean that the plenary session of the Court would cross the invisible boundary between a collegiate court and a deliberative assembly". Unlike any other institution, the plenary sessions for EU judgements, whose prime function is to act as a court for the European Union as a whole, in fact constitute a critical threshold beyond which it becomes difficult to maintain the rigorous and consistency of grounds for judgements, which are indispensable for a court ruling. The number of judges in the Grand Chamber, laid down by the Nice Treaty, was therefore determined not in terms of the total number of Judges in the Court as it stands or in a Court increased to 25 or 27 members but according to a threshold of effectiveness of the Court on which all parties agreed. Consequently, the Commission would prefer to main the balance and if it is nevertheless decided to increase the number of Judges in the Grand Chamber, the Commission believes...

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