Get 20M+ Full-Text Papers For Less Than $1.50/day. Start a 14-Day Trial for You or Your Team.

Learn More →

Book Review: The Future of the Judicial System of the European Union , edited by Alan Dashwood and Angus Johnston. (Hart Publishing Oxword, 2001)

Book Review: The Future of the Judicial System of the European Union , edited by Alan Dashwood... BOOK REVIEWS Alan Dashwood and Angus Johnston (eds.), The Future of the Judicial System of the European Union (Hart Publishing, Oxford, 2001) 278 pp., ISBN 1-84113-241-1, hb £40 The Future of the Judicial System of the European Union takes its title from the 1999 Report prepared by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) and the Court of First Instance (CFI), one of the two reports around which the collection is based (the other being the Report by the Working Party on the Future of the European Communities Court System, also published in 1999). A little less than half of the book is made up of reproduced primary documents: the two Reports, the Commission contribution to the 2000 IGC on the subject of the reform of the Community Courts, the amended Rules of Procedure of the ECJ (although not the more recently amended Rules of Procedure of the CFI), an annotated version of the relevant sections of the Nice Treaty, and the new Single Statute of the ECJ. In itself, this collection of documents constitutes a useful reference point. In addition, however, the editors have collected a diverse range of comments and analyses of the documents, of varying length, from a wide range of contributors: members of the ECJ and CFI, members of national governments, and academics. These contributions are well selected, in that they provide an excellent flavour of the themes, preoccupations and tensions surrounding the debate. In addition, the editors themselves have produced an informative synthesis of the scope of the debate and the principal issues contributing to it. The overwhelming picture painted in the book is of a judicial system hitting a point of crisis. Discussions concerning the changing role of the institutions, in the context both of enlargement and of the development of a European Constitution, rarely consider the judicial system. Nevertheless, as is continually emphasized through this book, serious problems are being faced. The case load of both Courts is increasing exponentially, and will continue to do so, in the face of a Union which is growing both in size (through enlargement) and in depth (through the widening of its competence). This leads to an increased backlog of cases and a slow turnover. The length of proceedings is compounded by what is becoming a significant problem of translation, which can lead to delays in the publication of judgments. At the beginning of its Paper, the Court refers to the problem at hand as `a dangerous trend towards a structural imbalance between the volume of incoming European Public Law, Volume 9, Issue 1 # Kluwer Law International, 2003. EUROPEAN PUBLIC LAW cases and the capacity of the institution to dispose of them' (p. 114). An inescapable conclusion on reading this collection is that the most desirable solution, from the point of view of the legal and judicial development of the Union and of the principle of access to justice, is not to decrease the volume of incoming cases but rather to improve the capacity of the institution to dispose of them by means of extra resources. The centrality of the preliminary rulings procedure, referred to by Schermers as `the Crown jewel of Community law' (p. 33), poses a particular problem. As the bounds of Community competence increase, so will the number of preliminary rulings, and Arnull, in his contribution, identifies that enlargement will pose a real problem, as new judicial systems have to grapple with Community law and will need to seek the advice of the Court of Justice. The centrality, and constitutional importance, of the preliminary reference procedure, however, means that little headway can really be made in cutting down the workload of the courts. The (extremely short) contribution by Ward highlights another critical issue ± that of widening the locus standi rules of Article 230 to allow private parties to bring judicial review actions against Community institutions. This matter is seen as crucial to access to justice, but is not addressed in any of the documents under discussion, presumably because it would increase, rather than decrease, the case load of the system. Nevertheless, Ward reminds us that this is a particularly pressing problem, and that, therefore, the difficulties facing the judicial system cannot be fully dealt with by reducing the number of cases brought before the Community Courts. As Thomas points out in his contribution, what is really desired is a system upgrade, and that costs money. The editors comment that, while the Treaty of Nice was `restrained' in terms of substantive changes to the judicial system, it did enable the Courts and the other institutions to make further changes without the need for Treaty revision. However, the important role of the Court of Justice in the future of Europe continues largely unacknowledged; while some Member States seem to have taken on board the central role of the judicial system, it is not even alluded to in the Laeken Declaration on the future of Europe, and the involvement of the courts in the Convention on the Future of Europe is limited to the option of an invitation to the President of the Court of Justice to address the Presidium. Until the importance of what the Court does is fully recognized, it is difficult to see the Member States agreeing to the allocation of resources sufficient to make real improvements. It is perhaps a weakness of this book that it does not engage as much as it might with these wider issues of the development of the Union. In some ways, however, this weakness contributes to the real strength of the book, in that it is focused on a vital problem which, perhaps because of a lack of political attention, is often ignored or downplayed. As such, and notwithstanding a few reservations, this book is a very useful addition to scholarship on the developing Community institutions and, it is hoped, will serve to bring the problems facing the Court to more prominence within wider debates. Chloe Wallace È Centre for the Study of Law in Europe University of Leeds http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png European Public Law Kluwer Law International

Book Review: The Future of the Judicial System of the European Union , edited by Alan Dashwood and Angus Johnston. (Hart Publishing Oxword, 2001)

European Public Law , Volume 9 (1) – Feb 1, 2003

Loading next page...
 
/lp/kluwer-law-international/book-review-the-future-of-the-judicial-system-of-the-european-union-IqihCJfHMS
Publisher
Kluwer Law International
Copyright
Copyright © Kluwer Law International
ISSN
1354-3725
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

BOOK REVIEWS Alan Dashwood and Angus Johnston (eds.), The Future of the Judicial System of the European Union (Hart Publishing, Oxford, 2001) 278 pp., ISBN 1-84113-241-1, hb £40 The Future of the Judicial System of the European Union takes its title from the 1999 Report prepared by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) and the Court of First Instance (CFI), one of the two reports around which the collection is based (the other being the Report by the Working Party on the Future of the European Communities Court System, also published in 1999). A little less than half of the book is made up of reproduced primary documents: the two Reports, the Commission contribution to the 2000 IGC on the subject of the reform of the Community Courts, the amended Rules of Procedure of the ECJ (although not the more recently amended Rules of Procedure of the CFI), an annotated version of the relevant sections of the Nice Treaty, and the new Single Statute of the ECJ. In itself, this collection of documents constitutes a useful reference point. In addition, however, the editors have collected a diverse range of comments and analyses of the documents, of varying length, from a wide range of contributors: members of the ECJ and CFI, members of national governments, and academics. These contributions are well selected, in that they provide an excellent flavour of the themes, preoccupations and tensions surrounding the debate. In addition, the editors themselves have produced an informative synthesis of the scope of the debate and the principal issues contributing to it. The overwhelming picture painted in the book is of a judicial system hitting a point of crisis. Discussions concerning the changing role of the institutions, in the context both of enlargement and of the development of a European Constitution, rarely consider the judicial system. Nevertheless, as is continually emphasized through this book, serious problems are being faced. The case load of both Courts is increasing exponentially, and will continue to do so, in the face of a Union which is growing both in size (through enlargement) and in depth (through the widening of its competence). This leads to an increased backlog of cases and a slow turnover. The length of proceedings is compounded by what is becoming a significant problem of translation, which can lead to delays in the publication of judgments. At the beginning of its Paper, the Court refers to the problem at hand as `a dangerous trend towards a structural imbalance between the volume of incoming European Public Law, Volume 9, Issue 1 # Kluwer Law International, 2003. EUROPEAN PUBLIC LAW cases and the capacity of the institution to dispose of them' (p. 114). An inescapable conclusion on reading this collection is that the most desirable solution, from the point of view of the legal and judicial development of the Union and of the principle of access to justice, is not to decrease the volume of incoming cases but rather to improve the capacity of the institution to dispose of them by means of extra resources. The centrality of the preliminary rulings procedure, referred to by Schermers as `the Crown jewel of Community law' (p. 33), poses a particular problem. As the bounds of Community competence increase, so will the number of preliminary rulings, and Arnull, in his contribution, identifies that enlargement will pose a real problem, as new judicial systems have to grapple with Community law and will need to seek the advice of the Court of Justice. The centrality, and constitutional importance, of the preliminary reference procedure, however, means that little headway can really be made in cutting down the workload of the courts. The (extremely short) contribution by Ward highlights another critical issue ± that of widening the locus standi rules of Article 230 to allow private parties to bring judicial review actions against Community institutions. This matter is seen as crucial to access to justice, but is not addressed in any of the documents under discussion, presumably because it would increase, rather than decrease, the case load of the system. Nevertheless, Ward reminds us that this is a particularly pressing problem, and that, therefore, the difficulties facing the judicial system cannot be fully dealt with by reducing the number of cases brought before the Community Courts. As Thomas points out in his contribution, what is really desired is a system upgrade, and that costs money. The editors comment that, while the Treaty of Nice was `restrained' in terms of substantive changes to the judicial system, it did enable the Courts and the other institutions to make further changes without the need for Treaty revision. However, the important role of the Court of Justice in the future of Europe continues largely unacknowledged; while some Member States seem to have taken on board the central role of the judicial system, it is not even alluded to in the Laeken Declaration on the future of Europe, and the involvement of the courts in the Convention on the Future of Europe is limited to the option of an invitation to the President of the Court of Justice to address the Presidium. Until the importance of what the Court does is fully recognized, it is difficult to see the Member States agreeing to the allocation of resources sufficient to make real improvements. It is perhaps a weakness of this book that it does not engage as much as it might with these wider issues of the development of the Union. In some ways, however, this weakness contributes to the real strength of the book, in that it is focused on a vital problem which, perhaps because of a lack of political attention, is often ignored or downplayed. As such, and notwithstanding a few reservations, this book is a very useful addition to scholarship on the developing Community institutions and, it is hoped, will serve to bring the problems facing the Court to more prominence within wider debates. Chloe Wallace È Centre for the Study of Law in Europe University of Leeds

Journal

European Public LawKluwer Law International

Published: Feb 1, 2003

There are no references for this article.