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Backlogs Dog EU Courts’ ‘Most Productive’ Year

(CN) - The European Court of Justice touted "the most productive year in the court's history," though backlogs continue to outpace completed cases in the three branches of the EU's judiciary.

In its annual review of the previous year's statistics, the EU high court reported 622 new cases filed in 2014, down from a record 699 in 2013. The bulk of the new filings - 428 - were requests for preliminary rulings from member-state courts.

Judges with the high court completed a record 719 cases, although 787 cases remain pending from 2014. The average proceeding lasted 15 months - also a record, the court said.

The EU's general court saw 912 new cases filed, 122 more than in 2013. But while the court completed a record 814 cases, it still has more than 1,400 still pending - an increase of almost 100 over the previous year - with the average case taking nearly two years to complete, the court said.

A large number of new filings at the lower-court level involved illegal state aid and challenges of restrictive measures set out by member states, according to the Luxembourg-based court.

The Civil Service Tribunal, which handles disputes between the European Union and its public employees, saw 157 new cases filed and dispensed with 152, leaving a 216-case backlog. The latter figure includes 99 cases that have been stayed for unspecified reasons, the Court of Justice said.

It takes just over a year to move a case through the tribunal - a two-month improvement in efficiency, the court said.

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