General Court (European Union)

The General Court (EGC) is a constituent court of the Court of Justice of the European Union. It hears actions taken against the institutions of the European Union by individuals and member states, although certain matters are reserved for the European Court of Justice. Decisions of the General Court can be appealed to the Court of Justice, but only on a point of law. Prior to the coming into force of the Lisbon Treaty on 1 December 2009, it was known as the Court of First Instance.

General Court
CountryEuropean Union
LocationKirchberg, Luxembourg City, Luxembourg


The General Court hears disputes (such as those by persons who have been refused a trade mark by EUIPO, the EU Trade Mark and designs registry).

The creation of the General Court instituted a judicial system based on two levels of jurisdiction: all cases heard at first instance by the General Court 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 General Court in the last five years, to relieve it of some of the caseload, the Treaty of Nice, which entered into force on 1 February 2003, provides for the creation of 'judicial panels' in certain specific areas.

On 2 November 2004 the Council adopted a decision establishing the European Union Civil Service Tribunal. This new specialised tribunal, composed of seven judges, heard and determined at first instance disputes involving the European Civil Service. Its decisions were subject to a right of appeal before the General Court on points of law only. Decisions given by the General Court in this area might exceptionally be subject to review by the Court of Justice. The European Union Civil Service Tribunal was duly constituted into law on 2 December 2005. It was dissolved on 1 September 2016.[1]


The General Court is composed of 47 judges, two from each Member State, plus a registrar. This will be increased to 56 in 2016. 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 General Court 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 General Court (unlike the European Court of Justice, which has eleven Advocates General). 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 occasionally.

List of Presidents

1989–1995 Portugal José Luís da Cruz Vilaça
1995–1998 Italy Antonio Saggio
1998–2007 Denmark Bo Vesterdorf
2007–present Luxembourg Marc Jaeger


Name Country Elected Current Term Ends
Marc Jaeger (President) Luxembourg Luxembourg 1996 2016
Heikki Kanninen (Vice-President) Finland Finland 2009 2016
Maria Eugénia Martins de Nazaré Ribeiro Portugal Portugal 2003 2016
Savvas S. Papasavvas Cyprus Cyprus 2004 2016
Miro Prek Slovenia Slovenia 2006 2019
Alfred Dittrich Germany Germany 2007 2019
Sten Frimodt Nielsen Denmark Denmark 2007 2016
Marc van der Woude Netherlands Netherlands 2010 2016
Dimitrios Gratsias Greece Greece 2010 2016
Guido Berardis Italy Italy 2012 2019
Ian Stewart Forrester United Kingdom United Kingdom 2015 2019
Paul Nihoul Belgium Belgium 2016 2022
Ottó Czúcz Hungary Hungary 2004 2019
Irena Wiszniewska-Białecka Poland Poland 2004 2016
Irena Pelikánová Czech Republic Czech Republic 2004 2019
Ingrida Labucka Latvia Latvia 2006 2019
Juraj Schwarcz Slovakia Slovakia 2009 2016
Andrei Popescu Romania Romania 2010 2016
Mariyana Kancheva Bulgaria Bulgaria 2011 2019
Eugène Buttigieg Malta Malta 2012 2019
Carl Wetter Sweden Sweden 2013 2019
Vesna Tomljenović Croatia Croatia 2013 2019
Egidijus Bieliūnas Lithuania Lithuania 2013 2019
Viktor Kreuschitz Austria Austria 2013 2016
Anthony Michael Collins Republic of Ireland Ireland 2013 2019
Ignacio Ulloa Rubio Spain Spain 2013 2019
Stéphane Gervasoni France France 2013 2019
Lauri Madise Estonia Estonia 2013 2016
Emmanuel Coulon (Registrar) France France 2005 2017

Former Judges

Name Country Elected Term Ended Ref.
Virpi Tiili Finland Finland 8 January 1995 6 October 2009 [2]
Arjen Meij Netherlands Netherlands 17 September 1998 13 September 2010 [3]
Ena Cremona Malta Malta 12 May 2004 22 March 2010 [3]
Daniel Šváby Slovakia Slovakia 2004 2010 [3]
Teodor Tchipev Bulgaria Bulgaria 12 January 2007 29 June 2010 [3]
Valeriu M. Ciuca Romania Romania 12 January 2007 26 November 2010 [3]


The General Court, like the Court of Justice, has the task of ensuring that the law is observed in the interpretation and application of the Treaties of the European Union and the provisions adopted by the competent Union institutions.

To fulfil its main task, the General Court 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 Union institutions)

  • Actions for failure to act

(against inaction by the Union institutions)

  • Actions for damages

(for the reparation of damage caused by unlawful conduct on the part of a Union institution)

  • Actions based on an arbitration clause

(disputes concerning contracts in public or private law entered into by the Union, 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 Union 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 and design right law
  • transport


The General Court has its own Rules of Procedure. As a rule, the Court's procedure includes a written phase and an oral phase. The proceedings are conducted in a language at the petitioner's choosing. As in the European Court of Justice, the working language of the Court is nevertheless French, and this includes the language the judges deliberate in and the drafting language of preliminary reports and judgments.[4]

The Court is separated into 8 divisions (called ‘chambers’) sat by 3-judge benches, except for the 6th and 8th divisions whose benches are sat by 4 judges and alternate to form 3-judge benches for the purposes of dealing with cases [1]. Cases are assigned by the President of the Court to a relevant divisional presiding judge. The presiding judge assigned to the case then chooses a judge-reporter (judge-rapporteur) from the judges of the division, whose clerks write a preliminary report (rapport préalable) based on the parties' pleadings and applicable law.

At the close of the written phase 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, if necessary, into various official languages of the European Union. The judges then deliberate based on a draft judgment prepared by the judge-reporter. The Court's final judgment is handed down in open court.


  1. ^ "REGULATION (EU, Euratom) 2016/1192 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 6 July 2016 on the transfer to the General Court of jurisdiction at first instance in disputes between the European Union and its servants". Official Journal of the European Union. 200/138. 26 July 2016. Retrieved 2018-02-01.
  2. ^ "CURIA – Former Members". CVRIA. Retrieved 2 May 2010.
  3. ^ a b c d e "CURIA – Former Members". CVRIA. Retrieved 11 October 2012.
  4. ^ Comparative legal linguistics – Heikki E. S. Mattila – Google Boeken. Retrieved 27 January 2012.

External links

Coordinates: 49°37′16″N 6°08′35″E / 49.6210°N 6.1431°E

Andrei Popescu

Andrei Popescu (born 1948) is a Romanian lawyer and a judge at the General Court of the European Union.He graduated in law from the University of Bucharest in 1971 and obtained his doctorate (Doctor in Laws) in 1980.From 1971 to 1973 he was trainee assistant lecturer; from 1974 to 1985 he was a tenured assistant lecturer and from 1985 to 1990 he was a lecturer in labour law at the University of Bucharest. From 1991 to 1991 he was a principal researcher at the National Research Institute for Labour and Social Protection. In 1991 he became Deputy Director at the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection and was Director from 1992 to 1996. From 1997 he was a senior lecturer at the National School of Political Science and Public Administration in Bucharest, becoming a professor in 2000. From 2001 to 2005, he was State Secretary at the Ministry for European Integration (2001–05). From 1996 to 2001 and from 2005 to 2009, he was also Head of Department at the Legislative Council of Romania.He was founding editor of the Romanian Review of European Law, and President of the Romanian Society for European Law from 2009 to 2010.From 2009 to 2010 he was agent of the Romanian Government before the Courts of the European Union, and since 26 November 2010 he has been a judge at the General Court of the European Union.

Anna Marcoulli

Anna Marcoulli (born 1974) is a Cypriot Judge of the General Court (European Union).She was educated at the University of East Anglia (LLB, 1995) and the University of Bristol (LLM, 1996).

Bo Vesterdorf

Bo Vesterdorf (born 1945) is a Danish judge who has been President of the European Court of First Instance.

Vesterdorf began his career as a lawyer-linguist at the European Court of Justice before becoming Administrator in the Danish Ministry of Justice, examining magistrate, and Legal Attaché in the Permanent Representation of Denmark to the European Communities.

He was a Temporary Judge at the Østre Landsret (Danish Court of Appeal), Head of the Constitutional and Administrative Law Division in the Ministry of Justice, Director of the Administration Department in the Ministry of Justice, and a university lecturer. He also served as a member of the Steering Committee on Human Rights at the Council of Europe, and subsequently as a member of its Bureau. In 2004 he became a member of the "Ad hoc committee on judicial training" at the Academy of European Law, Trier, Germany. He was a judge at the European Court of First Instance from 25 September 1989 and its president from 4 March 1998 to 17 September 2007.

Vesterdorf has been Commander 1st Degree of the Danish Royal Order of the Dannebrog since 20 June 2006. On 1 November 2007 he was appointed Senior Legal Consultant at Plesner Law Firm in Copenhagen. He is an external fellow at University College London's Faculty of Law and is attached to St Gallen University, Switzerland and Fordham Law School, New York. In May 2008 he was made Doctor of Laws honoris causa by St Gallen University.

Colm Mac Eochaidh

Colm Mac Eochaidh (born 1963) is a judge of the General Court of the European Union. He was a judge of the Irish High Court from 2012 to 2017.He was educated at Coláiste Eoin, University College Dublin and King's Inns. He qualified as a barrister in 1987 and was made a Senior Counsel in 2009. He was appointed to the High Court in 2012.In 1995 he and Michael Smith, the head of the environmental group An Taisce, sponsored a IR£10,000 reward for "information leading to the conviction on indictment of a person or persons for offences relating to land rezoning in the Republic of Ireland”. They had been prompted to put up the reward after suspicions about the rezoning of land in Loughlinstown in 1991. James Gogarty, a retired employee of construction firm JSME, responded with information about payments to Ray Burke, a Government Minister and former Chairman of Dublin County Council. Following Burke's resignation from the cabinet, the Mahon Tribunal was set up. Initially set up to investigate illegal payments received by Burke, the tribunal ran from November 1997 to March 2012 investigating a number of cases arising from payments made to Burke.

A former member of Fine Gael, in the 2002 Irish general election he unsuccessfully ran in the constituency of Dublin South-East, as a running mate to sitting Fine Gael TD Frances Fitzgerald.


EGC may refer to:

Bergerac Dordogne Périgord Airport, in France

E. Gluck Corporation, an American watch company

East Greenland Current

Église Gnostique Catholique, a French Gnostic church organisation

Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica, a Gnostic church organization

El Nasr Girls' College, in Alexandria, Egypt

Electrical Guitar Company, an American guitar company

Embryonic germ cell

Eosinophilic granuloma complex

Equipment Ground Conductor, equipment bonding conductor

European Green Coordination, a predecessor of the European Green Party


European Gliding Championships

European Go Championship, or European Go Congress

General Court (European Union)

Ena Cremona

Ena Cremona (born 1936) is a Maltese judge. She was a judge at the European Union General Court between 12 May 2004 and 22 March 2012.

European Court

European Court may refer to:

Court of Justice of the European Union, the judiciary of the European Union, based in Luxembourg

European Court of Justice (ECJ), the EU's highest court, established in 1952

General Court (European Union), established in 1989

European Union Civil Service Tribunal, established in 2005

European Court of Auditors, an institution of the European Union, established in 1977

European Court of Human Rights, an institution based in Strasbourg for the hearing of human rights complaints from Council of Europe member states; unrelated to the European Union; established in 1959

General Court

General Court may refer to:

General Court (European Union)

New Hampshire General Court

Massachusetts General Court

Cortes Generales, the national parliament of Spain (directly translated as "General Court(s)", though more commonly left untranslated in English-language texts)Institutions formerly known as General Court include:

Vermont General Assembly, formerly the Vermont General Court

Connecticut General Assembly, formerly the Connecticut General Court

General Court of Virginia (colonial)

Plymouth General Court

General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union

The General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union, also known as Council Secretariat, assists the Council of the European Union, the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the European Council and the President of the European Council. The General Secretariat is headed by the Secretary-General of the Council of the European Union. The Secretariat is divided into seven directorates-general, each administered by a director-general.

The Secretariat is based in Brussels, in the Justus Lipsius building. The respective secretariats of the Schengen Agreement and of now-defunct Western European Union and European Political Cooperation have along the years been integrated with the Council Secretariat.

The current secretary-general is Jeppe Tranholm-Mikkelsen, who was appointed on 1 July 2015. He succeeded from Uwe Corsepius.

Ignacio Ulloa Rubio

Ignacio Ulloa Rubio (born in Madrid in 1967) is a Spanish Judge and a member of the European General Court.

He studied in Madrid's (Complutense University). He was the Spanish's Secretary of State of Security between 2011 and 2013.

He can speak Spanish, French, English, and has knowledge of German and Arabic. He is married and has two children.

Marc Jaeger

Marc Jaeger (born 1954) is a jurist from Luxembourg, and a judge at the General Court of the EU. He was appointed in 1996. In 2007, he became President of the court.He studied law at the University of Strasbourg and the College of Europe (1979-1980 promotion).

Marc van der Woude

Marc van der Woude (born 1960) is a Dutch jurist, and a judge at the General Court of the European Union. He studied law at the University of Groningen and the College of Europe (1983-1984 promotion). He also lectured at the College of Europe and Leiden University. He worked as an attorney in Brussels from 1995, and became Professor at the Erasmus University Rotterdam. He was appointed a judge in 2010.

Maria Eugénia Martins de Nazaré Ribeiro

Maria Eugénia Martins de Nazaré Ribeiro (born 1956) is a Portuguese Judge and a former member of the General Court of the European Union.

She studied in Lisbon, Brussels and Strasbourg, she's a member of the Bar in Portugal and Brussels. As part of her studies, she was also an independent researcher at the Institut d'études européennes de l'université libre de Bruxelles (Institute of European Studies, Free University of Brussels).

She was a Judge at the General Court from 2003 until 2016.Since 2018, she is a member of the panel foreseen by Article 255 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which gives an opinion on candidates' suitability to perform the duties of Judge and Advocate-General of the Court of Justice and the General Court before the governments of the Member States appoint them.

Mariyana Kancheva

Mariyana Kancheva (Bulgarian: Марияна Кънчева) (born 1958) is a Bulgarian lawyer and a judge at the General Court of the European Union.She graduated with degree in law at the University of Sofia (1979–84); post-master’s degree in European law at the Institute for European Studies, Free University of Brussels (2008–09); specialisation in economic law and intellectual property law; Trainee judge at the Regional Court, Sofia (1985–86); Legal adviser (1986–88); Lawyer at the Sofia bar (1988–92); Director-General of the Services Office for the Diplomatic Corps at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1992–94); pursuit of the profession of lawyer in Sofia (1994-2011) and Brussels (2007–11); Arbitrator in Sofia for the resolution of commercial disputes; participation in the drafting of various legislative texts as legal adviser to the Bulgarian parliament; Judge at the General Court since 19 September 2011.

René Barents

René Barents (born 31 December 1951) is a Dutch European Union law scholar. He has been a judge at the General Court since 19 September 2016. He previously served as a judge on the European Union Civil Service Tribunal from 2011 until its dissolution in 2016. Barents has worked for the European Union justice system since the early 1980s, and he has been a professor of European Union law at Maastricht University since 1989.

Spinning (cycling)

Spinning is a brand of indoor bicycles and indoor cycling instruction classes distributed and licensed by the American health and fitness company Mad Dogg Athletics. Launched in 1993, the brand has become a popular term to refer to indoor bicycles and indoor cycling fitness classes in the United States and throughout the world. Based on the brand's widespread popularity, it has potentially become a generic term for indoor cycling in the Czech Republic, however, in November 2018, the General Court (European Union) upheld Mad Dogg's rights and found that the brand was not a generic term.

Teodor Tchipev

Teodor Tchipev (Bulgarian: Теодор Чипев) (born 18 March 1940 in Sofia) is a Bulgarian lawyer and was a judge at the General Court of the European Union.He graduated with degree in law at St Kliment Ohridski University, Sofia (1961); Doctorate in law (1977); Lawyer (1963–64); Legal adviser, State Automobile Enterprise for International Transport (1964–73); Research fellow at the Institute of Law, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (1973–88); Associate professor of civil procedure at the Faculty of Law of St Kliment Ohridski University, Sofia (1988–91); Arbitrator at the Court of Arbitration of the Chamber of Trade and Industry (1988-2006); Judge at the Constitutional Court (1991–94); Associate professor at Paissi Hilendarski University, Plovdiv (February 2001 to 2006); Minister for Justice (1994–95); Associate professor of civil procedure at the New Bulgarian University, Sofia (1995-2006); Judge at the General Court from 12 January 2007 to 29 June 2010.

UEA Law School

UEA Law School, founded in 1977, is a school within the University of East Anglia, dedicated to research and teaching in law. It is located in Earlham Hall, a seventeenth-century mansion situated on the edge of the UEA campus. From mid-2010 to early 2014, the school was temporarily located in the Blackdale School Building owing to essential renovation work. In national league tables UEA Law School has most recently been ranked 7th in the UK by The Guardian, placing it as one of the top law schools in the country.

Vilenas Vadapalas

Vilenas Vadapalas (born 1954) is a Lithuanian lawyer. He became the first representative of Lithuania at the Court of First Instance (now called the General Court) of the European Union, when he was appointed in 2004. Vadapalas specializes in the fields of public international law, law of the European Union, and international human rights law.Vadapalas graduated from the Law Faculty of Vilnius University. He obtained his doctorate degree from the University of Moscow and habilitated doctorate from the University of Warsaw. Vadapalas worked as professor of international law at Vilnius University. He published several textbooks for law students, including Tarptautinė teisė (1998 and 2006).

He works since October 2016 by Advokatų kontora Vadapalas, Vaitekūnas ir partneriai EUROLEX.

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