Banner Year for Cases, Backlogs at EU Courts

     (CN) - Judicial productivity soared in the EU last year, but court backlogs still persist according to statistics released by the Court of Justice of the European Union.
     The EU high court reported a record 699 new cases filed in 2013, up from 632 the previous year. Of the new filings, 450 were for preliminary rulings from national courts around Europe.
     But while the Luxembourg-based high court also touted its completion of 701 cases - 106 more than in 2012 - the backlog of cases remained flat over the previous year. The duration of proceedings also continued to climb last year, to an average of just over 16 months.
     It takes well over two years to get a case through the EU's General Court, which left 1,325 cases pending in 2013 according to a statement by the Court of Justice. New filings also exploded over the previous year - 790 compared with 617 in 2012 - while the court posted only moderate gains in its completed-case figures.
     The Civil Service Tribunal, which handles disputes between the European Union and its public employees, reported case completion rates at the highest level ever. The court had blamed its dismal 2012 figures on a changing of the guard in late 2011.
     And the tribunal also chipped away at its pending-case figures although new filings also fell from 178 in 2012 to 160 last year, the court said.