When appointing the Judges on the proposal of the committee, the Council ensures a balanced composition of the Civil Service Tribunal on as broad a geographical basis and as broad a representation of the national legal systems as possible.The Judges of the Civil Service Tribunal elect their President from among their number for a term of 3 years which may be renewed. The Civil Service Tribunal sits in Chambers of three Judges. However, whenever the difficulty or importance of the questions of law raised justifies it, a case may be referred to the full court. Furthermore, in certain cases determined by its Rules of Procedure, the Civil Service Tribunal may sit in a Chamber of five Judges or as a single Judge. The Judges appoint a Registrar for a term of 6 years. The Civil Service Tribunal has its own Registry, but makes use of the services of the Court of Justice for its other administrative and linguistic needs.
Within the judicial institution of the European Union, it is the Civil Service Tribunal whose special field is the sphere of disputes involving the European Union civil service, this jurisdiction having previously been exercised by the Court of Justice and then, following its creation in 1989, by the Court of First Instance (now the General Court).
It has jurisdiction to hear and determine at first instance disputes between the European Union and its servants pursuant to Article 270 TFEU, which as a result represents some 150 cases a year for approximately 40 000 members of staff of the institutions, bodies, offices and agencies of the European Union. These disputes concern
It also has jurisdiction in cases concerning certain specific employees, in particular, those of Eurojust, Europol, the European Central Bank, the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (OHIM) and the European External Action Service. On the other hand, it may not hear and determine cases between national administrations and their employees. The decisions given by the Civil Service Tribunal may, within 2 months, be subject to an appeal, limited to questions of law, to the General Court. The decisions on appeal by the General Court may in turn be re-examined before the Court of Justice, in exceptional circumstances.
The procedure before the Civil Service Tribunal is governed by provisions of the Statute of the Court of Justice, in particular those contained in Annex I thereto, by its Rules of Procedure and by related texts (all the texts are to be found at http://www.curia.europa.eu).
As a rule, the proceedings include a written phase and an oral phase.
The written phase
An application, drawn up by a lawyer and sent to the Registry, opens the proceedings. That document may be lodged by electronic means using the e-Curia application. The Registrar sends the application to the opposing party. The latter has a period of 2 months to file a defence. The Civil Service Tribunal may decide that a second exchange of written pleadings is necessary.
Any person who can prove an interest in the outcome of a case before the Civil Service Tribunal, as well as the institutions, bodies, offices and agencies of the European Union and the Member States, may intervene in the proceedings. The intervener files a statement in intervention, supporting or opposing the form of order sought by one of the parties, to which the latter may then respond. The intervener may also submit observations at the oral phase.
The oral phaseDuring the oral phase a public hearing is usually held. During the hearing, the Judges can put questions to the parties’ representatives and, where appropriate, to the parties themselves. The Judge-Rapporteur draws up a preparatory report for the hearing, containing the essential elements of the case and indicating the points on which the parties are to focus their oral arguments. This document is available to the public in the language of the case. The Judges deliberate on the basis of draft grounds prepared by the Judge-Rapporteur. The judgment is delivered at a public hearing.
The procedure before the Civil Service Tribunal is free of court fees. On the other hand, the costs of the lawyer entitled to appear before a court in a Member State, by whom the parties must be represented, are not paid by the Civil Service Tribunal. A party who is not able to meet the costs of the case may, however, apply for legal aid.
Amicable settlement of disputes
At all stages of the procedure, including the time when the application is filed, the Civil Service Tribunal may try to facilitate an amicable settlement of the dispute.
Proceedings for interim measures
Bringing an action before the Civil Service Tribunal does not cause the operation of the contested act to be suspended. The Tribunal may, however, order suspension of the act or other interim measures. The President of the Civil Service Tribunal or, in some circumstances, another Judge rules on the application for interim measures by way of reasoned order.
Interim measures are granted only if three conditions are met:
1. the substance of the main proceedings must appear, at first sight, to be well founded;
2. the applicant must establish the urgency of the measures in the absence of which he would suffer serious and irreparable harm;
3. the interim measures must take account of the weighing up of the parties’ interests and the public interest.
The order is provisional in nature and in no way prejudges the decision of the Civil Service Tribunal in the main proceedings. In addition, an appeal against it may be brought before the President of the General Court.
Language arrangementsThe language used for the application, which may be one of the 24 official languages of the European Union, will be the language of the case. The proceedings in the oral phase of the procedure are simultaneously interpreted, as necessary, into various official languages of the European Union. The Judges deliberate without interpreters in a common language, French.
Flowchart of procedure
The optional stages of the procedure are shown in square brackets.
(*) These documents are available on the Court’s website: http://www.curia.europa.eu
(**) These documents are to be found on display racks by the courtroom or may be obtained from the Press and Information Unit of the Court of Justice of the European Union, on request.
Other documents are not public.