Euro Court may open UK branches

LONDON and Edinburgh could have their own mini European Courts of Justice under decentralisation plans aimed at easing the growing congestion and delay of cases being heard in Luxembourg.

The proposed break-up of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) is part of a radical programme of reform which would mark the biggest shake-up since its foundation in1952. An ECJ's 33-page report argues that national courts of the ECJ sited in each member state would have the advantage of operating in the language of that country - helping to reduce the delay caused by the huge translation costs.

They would also be "closer" than the European Court of Justice to the national legal system in which the cases were referred. The mounting costs and delay in hearing more and more Community cases has placed enormous pressure on the ECJ. This has not been helped by some countries, notably Italy, the Netherlands and Greece, bringing "barmy" cases which have not been properly prepared. This said, Nicholas Green QC, chairman of the Bar European Group, had led senior ECJ judges to conclude that it would be better for member states to hear more of their own cases. One of the court's proposals for immediate change is a "clarification" procedure whereby the ECJ can ask the domestic court to make it clearer what is asking.

In a stark warning about the court's future ability to deal with its increasing case-load, ECJ president, Gil Carlos Rodrguez Iglesias, said that "recent institutional developments risk further worsening the current state of the community system of law".

Mr Rodrguez Iglesias, the court's most senior judge, identified an existing backlog of cases as well as imminent changes which would stimulate future litigation. These included the third stage of the European Monetary Union and the enlargement of the community to a number of former eastern bloc countries.

He said there was already a "dangerous trend towards a structural imbalance between the volume of incoming cases and the capacity of the institution to deal with them." In 1990 there were just 145 cases before the ECJ - last year that number had risen to over one thousand.

There is a two-year delay for cases to come before the ECJ after referral from a domestic court. These figures are expected to worsen in the next three years as the court is asked to tackle problems relating to judicial and police co-operation across member states and more freedom of movement cases as refugees flood in from the Balkans crisis.

An increasing administrative burden is the need to translate every key document into every language of the community. The ECJ proposes to introduce a fast-track system for hearing cases and implementing a case-filtering procedures.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions