Interpretation of union law
bert de made this access to documents request to Court of Justice of the European Union
Dear Court of Justice of the European Union,
Under the right of access to documents in the EU treaties, as developed in Regulation 1049/2001, I am requesting documents which contain the following information:
outside the court, I seek interpretation of union law. As member of the public, may I communicate my query to the responsible office? Title/reference to the procedure document dealing with same would suffice.
Dear Sir or Madam,
Thank you for your e-mail. The Registry of the Court of Justice of the
European Union greatly appreciates your interest in the work of the Court.
In response to your e-mail, allow us to provide you with some information
about the jurisdiction and the work of the Court.
The Court of Justice ensures that in the interpretation and application of
the Treaties the law is observed. The interpretation and application of
provisions of the national law of the Member States do not fall within its
jurisdiction. The Court, moreover, is not a court of appeal from the
national courts, and it can neither set aside nor vary their decisions.
Nor can it deal with complaints relating to violations of the European
Convention on Human Rights by the authorities of the signatory States; the
Court of Justice is not to be confused with the European Court of Human
Rights (see the latter’s website: www.echr.coe.int).
Disputes with Member States or their authorities, or between private
persons, fall within the exclusive jurisdiction of the national courts.
This is so even where questions relating to EU law are concerned. A court
of a Member State may, if it considers it necessary to do so, refer
questions concerning the validity or interpretation of EU law to the Court
of Justice for a preliminary ruling, but the parties themselves cannot do
Nor can such request be referred to toe court outside the proceedings
pending before a national court in the sense of Article 267 of the Treaty
on the functioning of the European Union.
In addition, private persons may bring proceedings against an EU
institution – but not a Member State or a private or legal person – only
before the General Court of the European Union and not before the Court of
Justice. In such proceedings, representation by a lawyer entitled to
practise in a Member State is compulsory.
It does not appear, therefore, to be possible for any action to be taken
concerning your e mail. It is, however, open to you to consult a lawyer.
In any event, as far as access to documents held by the Court is
concerned, we would like to draw your attention, first, to the fact that
access to documents held by the Court of Justice in the exercise of its
administrative functions is subject to the Decision of 26 November 2019 of
the Court, which you can find together with all the relevant information
on the internet (https://curia.europa.eu/jcms/jcms/P_1848...).
Second, as regards access to documents held by the Cour in the exercise of
its judicial functions, we need to point out that the Court does not fall
under the institutions covered by Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 of the
European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2001 regarding public
access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents. In
addition, it is the practice of the Court to treat procedural documents as
confidential and not to allow access to procedural documents in pending or
closed cases to persons who are not a party to the case. In fact, although
the Statute of the Court of Justice provides that the hearings are public,
it restricts those entitled to receive communication of procedural
documents to the parties and to the institutions whose decisions are in
dispute. Similarly, the Rules of Procedure provide for procedural
documents to be served only on the parties to the proceedings. Therefore,
neither the Statute of the Court of Justice nor the Rules of Procedure
provide for any third-party right of access to documents submitted to the
Court in court proceedings.
Such documents may only become accessible after 30 years, provided the
conditions laid down in the rules on the Historical Archives of the
European Union are met, and without prejudice to an individual assessment
of each request. For further information, please refer to our website:
For further information concerning the jurisdiction and the work of the
Court, please visit the Court’s website at: www.curia.europa.eu.
Registry of the Court of Justice
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Dear Registry ECJ,
My query reads: outside the court, I seek interpretation of union law. As member of the public, may I communicate my query to the responsible office? Title/reference to the procedure document dealing with same would suffice.
Your response is no, i cannot seek interpretation. Are you sure?