European Court of Justice
the principal court of the European Union, charged with ensuring that in the interpretation and application of the treaties the law is observed. It is a collegiate body and elects its own President. It is made up of independent members and can act only by judgment. The system of preliminary ruling allowed the court much more material with which to state the law.
It consists of 15 judges and nine Advocates General (Advocate General. It sits in six chambers of three or five judges, but when it hears a case brought by a member state or one of the other institutions, or when it has to give a preliminary ruling, it must sit in plenary session. It does not issue dissenting judgments. It has the following jurisdiction: to discover whether a member state has failed to fulfil an obligation under the treaty; to determine penalties in actions by natural or legal persons; to review the legality of the acts or failures to act by the Council and Commission at the request of a member state, to give preliminary rulings; to grant damages to persons complaining of damage caused by the institutions; to resolve disputes between the Communities and their employees; to act as court of appeal for the relatively new Court of First Instance. It has had a pivotal effect in European Community law.

Collins dictionary of law. . 2001.


European Court of Justice
(ECJ)
The judicial body of the European Union (EU). The ECJ consists of judges from each member state. It makes decisions on issues of EC law. The judges are not representatives of their member states. The ECJ enforces European decisions either in respect of actions taken by the European Commission against a member state or action taken by an individual to enforce his rights under EC law. The ECJ is frequently confused with the European Court of Human Rights, which is not linked to the EU institutions, and which oversees human rights laws across Europe, including in many non-EU countries.
For further information, see the Europa website: .
Related links

Practical Law Dictionary. Glossary of UK, US and international legal terms. . 2010.

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