The European Court of Justice (ECJ) is the highest court in the European Union (EU) in matters of European Union law. It is based in Luxembourg and was established in 1952. The Court’s main function is to interpret EU law and ensure its equal application across all EU member states.
The Court is made up of one judge from each EU member state, currently numbering 27. They are appointed by their respective governments for a renewable six-year term.
The Court is assisted by nine advocates-general who provide legal advice on cases brought before the Court.
The ECJ has jurisdiction over all legal disputes involving EU law, including cases involving the interpretation and application of EU treaties, EU legislation, and decisions of EU institutions. It also has the power to review the legality of national laws and practices in light of EU law.
The Court has the power to issue several types of judgments, including preliminary rulings, which provide guidance to national courts on the interpretation of EU law; direct actions, in which individuals or companies can sue the EU institutions or member states for damages or to have a decision declared invalid; and appeals against decisions of the General Court.
The ECJ’s judgments are binding on all EU member states, and it plays a key role in shaping EU law and policy. Its decisions have had a significant impact on a range of issues, including data protection and privacy, consumer protection, competition law, and the rights of EU citizens.