Articles

Thinking Justice Outside the Dock: A Critical Assessment of the Reform of the EU's Court System

A. ALEMANNO, L. PECH

Common Market Law Review

February 2017, vol. 54, n°1, pp.129-176

Departments: Tax & Law, GREGHEC (CNRS)


The 2015 reform of the EU’s court system will go down in history as the most radical transformation of the EU judicial architecture since the establishment of the General Court in 1989. It entails not only the doubling of the number of General Court judges but also the dissolution of the Civil Service Tribunal. This article offers a critical assessment of these two major, structural changes, by focusing on both the process by which they were adopted and its overall merits. After providing a detailed examination of its tortuous legislative history and highlighting its unique underlying procedural feature – with the Court itself initiating the reform process -, this article identifies and systematises the major reform’s shortcomings. It criticises both the diagnosis underpinning the reform and the cure administered. It concludes by presenting this reform process as a missed opportunity to address, in a more holistic manner, the pressing non-docket related challenges faced by the EU judicial system and, in particular, to reform a governance structure which is no longer fit for purpose considering the massive transformation of the EU judicial branch since the CJ was first established in 1951