The aim of this paper is to provide an explanation why nowadays the European Union has such a strong Court of Justice (the Court). The paper is composed of four main parts. In the first part we will present a brief overview of the evolution of the Court of Justice through time. The second part deals with the creation of the legal doctrines as a means of empowerment of the Court. In the third part we will discuss the cooperation between the national courts and the Court, and finally the last part is dedicated to the relations between Member States and the Court. It should be noted that in each part of the paper we will bring arguments and various examples to develop a ...view middle of the document...
While, a Member State as well can bring an action against another Member State in front of the Court , but they almost never do that, they prefer to do it via the Commission, which acts as an “arbiter in this situation”.
2. Judicial review of the EU’s legislative and executive acts
3. Preliminary rulings - In case the national courts have any doubt about the interpretation or validity of EU law provisions, they may ask the Court for preliminary ruling. It is mainly done to ensure the uniform interpretation of the EU law.
The power to interpret the EU law allowed the Court to issue important and sometimes tough rulings such as those about the removal of the national non-tariff barriers to trade and the illegal subsidisation of the national industries. The Court went even further in its rulings by entering some policy areas that are particularly domestic as environmental and social policies, gender equality, competition policy, etc. Moreover, the Court had an influence over the EU policy on such issues as who will represent the Member States during the negotiations for international agreements or if they can enter into bilateral trade agreements with the third countries.
Taking into account this wide range of the influence of the Court, it is to be questioned whether the Member States could expect that the Court, using its competence to interpret the EU law, could change the EU legal system and make bold rulings that undermine considerably their sovereignty and national interests. Furthermore, could they suppose that the Court will become a tool for the domestic actors to challenge their national policies? These are powers that the Court created for itself without taking into consideration Member States’ will and intentions.
3- Direct effect and Supremacy of the EU law
Pollack has described the relations between the Member States and the Court of Justice by the principal-agent theory. This theory states that principals have interests that are different from those of agents: principals want to have control on the agents, while the agents want to have as much autonomy and authority as possible.
In fact, the Court of Justice, the agent, has shaped its authority gradually by taking important decisions, namely those establishing the principles of direct effect and supremacy of the EU law. These two doctrines are not included in the treaties; as Mancini says, they are the products of the “judicial creativity” of the Court. The principle of direct effect (in the case of Van Gend en Loos ) defines that the EU law not only imposes obligations on the individuals, but it confers upon them rights that they can claim in front of their national courts. Whereas, according to the principle of supremacy (in the case of Costa v. ENEL ), if a conflict arises between a provision of the EU law and the national law, the EU law takes precedence. These principles allow the individuals to rely on the EU law before their national courts,...