Language of document : ECLI:EU:F:2013:186


(Second Chamber)

14 November 2013

Case F‑96/09 DEP

Eva Cuallado Martorell


European Commission

(Civil Service — Procedure — Taxation of costs — Applicant receiving legal aid — Maximum amount payable to a lawyer in respect of written and oral procedures set by the Tribunal — Inapplicability of the limit where another party is ordered to pay the costs of the proceedings)

Application:      for taxation of recoverable costs, under Article 92 of the Rules of Procedure, brought by Ms Cuallado Martorell before the Tribunal following the judgment of 18 September 2012 in Case F‑96/09 Cuallado Martorell v Commission (‘the judgment of 18 September 2012’).

Held:      The total amount of costs recoverable from the European Commission by Ms Cuallado Martorell in Case F‑96/09 is fixed at EUR 3 620.


1.      Judicial proceedings — Application for legal aid — Conditions for granting — Inability to meet assistance and representation costs — Grant of legal aid — Determination of the amount of the lawyer’s fees by the Civil Service Tribunal — Assessment

(Rules of Procedure of the Civil Service Tribunal, Arts 95 to 98)

2.      Judicial proceedings — Costs — Taxation — Elements to be taken into consideration

(Rules of Procedure of the Civil Service Tribunal, Art. 91(b))

1.      The provisions of the Rules of Procedure of the Civil Service Tribunal relating to legal aid, namely Articles 95 to 98, do not cover exhaustively every conceivable hypothetical case.

In particular, those provisions do not cover the question of the amount which the party ordered to pay the costs must reimburse, by way of fees, to the lawyer of an applicant in receipt of legal aid.

First, it is clear from Article 97(3), third subparagraph, of those Rules of Procedure that the purpose of the order granting legal aid, which may either specify an amount to be paid by the cashier of the Tribunal to the lawyer instructed to represent the person concerned or fix a limit which the lawyer’s disbursements and fees may not, in principle, exceed, is not to determine the costs recoverable by the successful party but to secure effective access to justice for any party who, because of his financial situation, is wholly or partly unable to meet the costs involved in legal assistance and representation by a lawyer in proceedings before the Tribunal.

Secondly, it is clear from the wording of Article 95(1), second subparagraph, of those Rules that the legal aid granted by the order may cover, in whole or in part, the costs involved in legal assistance and representation by a lawyer in proceedings before the Civil Service Tribunal. In that regard, it is well known that the fees charged by lawyers may differ considerably depending on the Member State in which they practise and the level of their specialisation in a particular field, or even their reputation within their profession. It is not excluded that, in the light of the sum guaranteed by the Tribunal in its order, the applicant may undertake to pay his lawyer the portion of his fees not covered by legal aid in the event of being ordered to pay the costs.

Moreover, a lawyer who has agreed to represent the person concerned pro bono at the time the application is lodged cannot be required to forgo some of his fees where the other party is ordered to pay the costs at the end of the proceedings.

(see paras 19-23)

2.      The European Union Court is not empowered to tax the fees payable by the parties to their own lawyers, but may determine the amount of those fees to be recovered from the party ordered to pay the costs. When ruling on an application for taxation of costs, the European Union Court is not obliged to take account of any national scale of lawyers’ fees or any agreement in that regard between the party concerned and his agents or advisers.

In the absence of provisions of EU law laying down fee scales, the Court must make an unfettered assessment of the facts of the case, taking into account the purpose and nature of the proceedings, their significance from the point of view of EU law as well as the difficulties presented by the case, the amount of work generated by the case for the agents and advisers involved and the financial interest which the parties had in the proceedings

(see paras 28-29)


8 November 2011, F‑92/09 DEP U v Parliament, paras 38 and 39