Court of Justice of the European Union

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) (French: Cour de justice de l'Union européenne) is the judicial branch of the European Union (EU). Seated in the Kirchberg quarter of Luxembourg City, Luxembourg, this EU institution consists of two separate courts: the Court of Justice and the General Court.[1][2] From 2005 to 2016 it also consisted of the Civil Service Tribunal. It has a sui generis court system, meaning "of its own kind", and is a supranational institution.[3]

Court of Justice of the European Union
Emblem of the Court of Justice of the European Union

Palais de la Cour de Justice, Luxembourg
Judicial branch overview
JurisdictionEuropean Union
HeadquartersKirchberg, Luxembourg City, Luxembourg
49°37′15.41″N 6°8′28.48″E
Employees2,144 (2015)
Annual budgetEUR 357,060,000 (2015)
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CJEU is the chief judicial authority of the European Union and oversees the uniform application and interpretation of European Union law, in co-operation with the national judiciary of the member states.[2] CJEU also resolves legal disputes between national governments and EU institutions, and may take action against EU institutions on behalf of individuals, companies or organisations whose rights have been infringed.[4]


CJEU consists of two major courts:[5]

  1. the Court of Justice, informally known as European Court of Justice (ECJ) which hears applications from national courts for preliminary rulings, annulment and appeals. It consists of one judge from each EU member country, as well as 11 advocates general.
  2. the General Court, which hears applications for annulment from individuals, companies and, less commonly, national governments (focusing on competition law, state aid, trade, agriculture and trade marks). It is made up of 47 judges, which is to be increased to 56 in 2019.


CJEU's specific mission is to ensure that "the law is observed" "in the interpretation and application" of the Treaties of the European Union. To achieve this, it:

  • reviews the legality of actions taken by the EU's institutions;
  • enforces compliance by member states with their obligations under the Treaties, and
  • interprets European Union law.[2]


CJEU was originally established in 1952 as a single court called the Court of Justice of the European Coal and Steel Communities (as of 1958 the Court of Justice of the European Communities (CJEC)).

The General Court was created in 1988 (known as the Court of First Instance) and the Civil Service Tribunal was created in 2004.

With the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon in 2009, the court system obtained its current name (Court of Justice of the European Union), while the original court itself (the former CJEC) was renamed "Court of Justice".

The working language of the Court of Justice of the European Union is French.[6]

See also


  1. Article 19 TEU: The Court of Justice of the European Union shall include the Court of Justice, the General Court and specialised court.
  2. "General Presentation". Curia. Europa. Retrieved 23 October 2015.
  3. Malta u l-Qorti tal-Ġustizzja tal-Unjoni Ewropea (PDF) (in Maltese). Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union. 2014. p. 412. ISBN 978-92-829-1733-6. OCLC 904335289. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 April 2016.
  4. "Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU)". Europa. Europa. Retrieved 23 October 2015.
  5. "Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU)". Retrieved 13 March 2017.
  6. "Language arrangements at the Court of Justice of the European Union". Curia. Europa. Retrieved 8 September 2018.

Further reading

  • Beck, Gunnar (2013). The Legal Reasoning of the Court of Justice of the EU. Oxford: Hart Publishing.
  • Mikelsone, Gundega (2013). The Binding Force of the Case Law of the Court of Justice of the European Union. ISSN 2029-2058.

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