The Court of Justice of the European Union constitutes the judicial authority of the European Union. Its mission is to ensure uniform interpretation and application of European law. To achieve that mission, the Court gives binding interpretations of European Union law at the request of national courts, in the form of a preliminary ruling.
The cases the Court has to decide concern not only the parties involved, but every citizen of the European Union. As the President of the Court put it: “It’s always the case that our judgments have relevance way beyond the case in which the pronouncements were made”.
Moreover, its decisions deal with complex and fundamental issues, such as the patentability of human embryo’s, the legality of monetary policy decisions of the European Central Bank or the privacy of European Facebook users.
A sound adjudication of such complex and/or high impact cases requires the Court to consider all available knowledge and perspectives, the balancing of all interests at stake and a well informed assessment of the implications of its decision for third parties and society at large. That raises the question of how the Court can be informed about the knowledge, the interests and the implications that are relevant for its decision?
Under the Court’s Statute and Rules of Procedure, both the Member Sates and the European Commission, have the possibility to submit their written observations on a case pending before the Court. Affected third parties or the public, however, do not have this possibility; there is no procedural avenue for them to inform the Court of their knowledge, perspectives, or interests in the case at hand or to demonstrate how its decision will affect them or society.
This ‘input deficit’ is notable, given that various courts around the world, including the Supreme Court of the United States, do invite third party or public input, in the form of Amicus Curiae Briefs. As the US Supreme Court put it:
‘An amicus curiae brief that brings to the attention of the court relevant matter not already brought to its attention by the parties may be of considerable help to the Court’ (US Supreme Court Rule 37).
To help the Court reach the best informed decision, we set up this platform on which you, as Friend of the Court, can share with the Court your knowledge, perspective or interests in a particular case, in the form of an Amicus Curiae Brief. You can find a list of requests for a preliminary ruling currently pending before the Court here, with the possibility to leave your brief.