EU Shuffles Court System to Handle Big Caseload

     (CN) – The EU Court of Justice faces some changes to deal with the increasingly backlogged General Court, regulators said Tuesday, while calling for more study of demands to hire more judges.
     The Court of Justice requested the changes from the EU Council in April 2011 to improve efficiency.
     As EU jurisdiction progressively expands, the General Court has seen more cases filed and and longer proceedings, the council said in a statement.
     Though legislators said they are not yet ready to increase the number of General Court judges, they agreed to create vice-president positions at that level for the high court to help the presidents of each court carry out duties.
     Judges of each court will elect their presidents and vice presidents to renewable three year terms, the council said.
     The Grand Chamber of the Court of Justice will meanwhile see its numbers rise from 13 to a 15-member panel with participation of every president that oversees five-judge chambers.
     This change will also affect quorum requirements in both the Grand Chamber and the full court, the council said.
     Other changes include the assignment of temporary judges to specialized courts, especially in cases where illness or disability prevents a judge from hearing cases for long periods of time.
     The council’s announcement comes after the European Parliament approved the changes on July 5.

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