Court of first instance

The phrase "court of first instance" can refer to the following things:
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The European Court of First Instance, created in 1989, is a court of the European Union.

General remarks from the European Court of Justice Website

The Court of First Instance hears disputes (such as disputes brought by those refused a trademark by OHIM, the EU Trade Mark and designs registry). Appeals are sent to the European Court of Justice. The Court of First Instance is an independent Court attached to the European Court of Justice.

The creation of the Court of First Instance instituted a judicial system based on two levels of jurisdiction: all cases heard at first instance by the Court of First Instance may be subject to a right of appeal to the Court of Justice on points of law only.

In view of the increasing number of cases brought before the Court of First Instance in the last five years, in order to relieve it of some of the caseload, the Treaty of Nice, which entered into force on February 1, 2003, provides for the creation of ‘judicial panels’ in certain specific areas.

On November 2, 2004 the Council adopted a decision establishing the European Union Civil Service Tribunal. This new specialised tribunal, composed of seven judges, will hear and determine at first instance disputes involving the European civil service. Its decisions will be subject to a right of appeal before the Court of First Instance on points of law only. Decisions given by the Court of First Instance in this area may exceptionally be subject to review by the Court of Justice. The European Union Civil Service Tribunal was duly constituted into law on December 2, 2005.

The creation of a European Union Patent Tribunal is currently being examined.

Composition

As of January, 2007, the Court of First Instance is composed of 27 Judges, at least one from each Member State. The Judges are appointed for a renewable term of six years by common accord of the governments of the Member States.

The Members of the Court of First Instance elect their President and the Presidents of the Chambers of five Judges from among their number for a renewable period of three years.

There are no permanent Advocates General attached to the Court of First Instance (unlike the European Court of Justice which has 8 Advocates Generals). However, the task of an Advocate General may be performed in a limited number of cases by a Judge nominated to do so. In practice this has been done only very occasionally.

Presidents of the Court of First Instance

Year Presidents of the Court of First Instance
1989–1995 José Luis Da Cruz Vilaça
1995–1998 Antonio Saggio
1998–2007 Bo Vesterdorf
2007–present Marc Jaeger

Judges

Name Country Elected Term Ends
Marc Jaeger Luxembourg19962010
Virpi Tiili Finland19952007
Josef Azizi Austria19952007
John D. Cooke Ireland19962008
Arjen Meij Netherlands19982010
Mihalis Vilaras Greece19982010
Nicholas James Forwood United Kingdom19992011
Maria Eugénia Martins de Nazaré Ribeiro Portugal20032009
Franklin Dehousse Belgium20032009
Ena Cremona Malta20042010
Ottó Czúcz Hungary20042010
Irena Wiszniewska-Białecka Poland20042010
Irena Pelikánová Czech Republic20042010
Daniel Šváby Slovakia20042010
Vilenas Vadapalas Lithuania20042010
Küllike Jürimäe Estonia20042010
Ingrida Labucka Latvia20042010
Savvas S. Papasavvas Cyprus20042010
Enzo Moavero Milanesi Italy20062012
Nils Wahl Sweden20062012
Miro Prek Croatia20062012
Teodor Tchipev Bulgaria20062012
Valeriu M. Ciucă Romania20072013
Alfred Dittrich Germany20072013
Santiago Soldevila Fragoso Spain20072013
Laurent Truchot France20072013
Sten Frimodt Nielsen Denmark20072013
Emmanuel Coulon France20072013

Jurisdiction

The Court of First Instance, like the Court of Justice, has the task of ensuring that the law is observed in the interpretation and application of the Treaties constituting the European Communities and the provisions adopted by the competent Community institutions.

In order to fulfil its main task, the Court of First Instance has jurisdiction to hear and determine at first instance all direct actions brought by individuals and the Member States, with the exception of those to be assigned to a ‘judicial panel’ and those reserved for the Court of Justice.

Categories of direct actions

  • Actions for annulment
(against acts of the Community institutions)
  • Actions for failure to act
(against inaction by the Community institutions)
  • Actions for damages
(for the reparation of damage caused by unlawful conduct on the part of a Community institution)
  • Actions based on an arbitration clause
(disputes concerning contracts in public or private law entered into by the Community, containing such a clause)
  • Actions concerning the civil service - As of 2006 these cases were transferred to the new Civil Service Tribunal
(disputes between the Community and its officials and other servants)

Subject-matter of direct actions: all matters, including:
  • agriculture
  • State aid
  • competition
  • commercial policy
  • regional policy
  • social policy
  • institutional law
  • trade mark law
  • transport

Procedure before the Court of First Instance

The Court of First Instance has its own Rules of Procedure. As a rule the Court’s procedure includes a written phase and an oral phase. The proceedings are in a language chosen by the applicant. A Judge-Rapporteur is appointed at the beginning of each case by the President of the Court to follow closely the course of the proceedings. At the close of the written procedure and, as the case may be, on adoption of measures of inquiry, the case is argued orally in open court. The proceedings are interpreted simultaneously, as necessary, into different official languages of the European Union. The Judges then deliberate on the basis of a draft judgment prepared by the Judge-Rapporteur. The judgment is delivered in open court.

Future rename

The Reform Treaty (and also the European Constitution that failed to ratify) will rename the Court of First Instance to "General Court". The Court of Justice of the European Communities will be renamed "Court of Justice", and the term "Court of Justice of the European Union" will officially designate the two levels of jurisdiction taken together.[1]

References

External links

A trial court or court of first instance is the court in which most civil or criminal cases begin. Not all cases are heard in trial courts; some cases may begin in inferior limited jurisdiction bodies such as the case of the jurisdiction of an administrative body that has
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In France, the Tribunal d'instance (Court of Instance) is a civil court for minor litigation and a criminal court for minor offences (contraventions). These are first instance courts, meaning that their rulings can be appealed (appel or cassation).
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Treaty of Rome, signed by France, West Germany, Italy and Benelux (Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg) on March 25 1957, established the European Economic Community (EEC) and came into force on 1 January 1958. According to George C.
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The Maastricht Treaty (formally, the Treaty on European Union, TEU) was signed on February 7, 1992 in Maastricht, the Netherlands after final negotiations on December 9, 1991 between the members of the European Community and entered into force on November 1, 1993
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The three pillars

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Treaty of Amsterdam amending the Treaty of the European Union, the Treaties establishing the European Communities and certain related acts, commonly known as the Amsterdam Treaty
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Treaty of Nice is a treaty adopted in Nice by the European Council to amend the two founding treaties of the European Union:
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Court of Justice of the European Communities, usually called the European Court of Justice (ECJ), is the highest court in the European Union (EU). It has the ultimate say on matters of EU law in order to ensure equal application across the various European Union member
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