(CN) - Europe's top court reports that it is processing more cases than ever. Statistics released by the Court of Justice show that its 2009 caseload increased nearly 10 percent from the previous year.
The court also reports that its efficiency remains high despite increased workload: The average reference for a preliminary ruling last year took about 17 months, up only a fraction from 2008.
The court is also making more rulings without first asking for the opinion of an advocate general. About 52 percent of judgments in 2009 were delivered without the non-binding opinion, compared with 41 percent the year before.
The EU General Court struggles to process cases, the statistics show, as it still has more than 1,000 cases pending. The Civil Service Tribunal is chugging along with higher numbers and shorter times for processing cases, the courts said.
Ratification of the Lisbon Treaty at the end of 2009 reshaped the European courts, increasing the Court of Justice's jurisdictional sweep. The Court of Justice has steadily been amassing power, leading some to compare it with the U.S. Supreme Court.