Sacha Prechal, ESSAY: THE MANY FORMATIONS OF THE COURT OF JUSTICE: 15 YEARS AFTER NICE, Fordham International Law Journal, Vol. 39, p. 1273

Sacha Prechal, ESSAY: THE MANY FORMATIONS OF THE COURT OF JUSTICE: 15 YEARS AFTER NICE, Fordham International Law Journal, Vol. 39, p. 1273


The conclusion of the Treaty of Maastricht in 1992, which profoundly modified the European Community and created the European Union, was followed by various rounds of difficult and protracted negotiations among Member States aimed particularly at creating substantial institutional changes to the European Union. The Intergovernmental Conference („IGC”) that led to the adoption of the Treaty of Nice was indeed very much concerned with the so-called „Amsterdam leftovers,” 1 namely the weighting of votes in the European Council, the extension of qualified majority voting and the size of the European Commission. The need to modify the institutional framework with the view of the future major enlargement by then ten Central European and Mediterranean countries put additional pressure on the negotiations. The overall result of the Nice negotiations was rather disappointing, 2 with but one bright spot: the reform of the European judicature.

In fact, the alarming growth of the number of cases brought before the European courts 3 and the increasing length of their procedures, combined with the prospect of the enlargement, made clear with respect to the judiciary that „something had to be done.” The Court of Justice and the Court of First Instance anticipated the urgent need for changes in 1999 by presenting a discussion paper entitled, „The Future of the Judicial System of the European Union.” 4 This initiative was first picked up by the Commission and later by Member States, who could apparently relatively easily reach a consensus on a


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