The European Judicial System – III part
The subject of community law would imply a survey of the appeal modalities offered by the community law. This is not possible in such a short context and so, to give you an idea of the tasks under the community law’s competence, I’ll only deal with two kinds of action: the one arising from a direct appeal and the other arising from a question of a national judge. The direct appeal I’d like to take into consideration is the one concerning the Member states’non-compliance with the obligations imposed by community law. This kind of action, generally called action for infringement or for non-compliance, is mostly engendered by the European Commission and can be divided into two different stages. The first stage, called pre-contentious, is divided into two other sub-stages: the stage of the letter placed in default that the European Commission sends to the Member states assumed non-compliant and that gives the member state the idea of the extent of the charge (and in particular it gives the member state the possibility to express its opinion). In case the situation of this State is questioned by the European Commission, the latter sends a motivated opinion to the State and gives it a deadline by which the State must make its own law system comply with the community obligations. In case the State does not take the appropriate measures, the European Commission can go to the Court of Justice and make it declare the status of non-compliance of the Member State. The judgement by the Court of Justice is imposed to the Member State and the latter must comply with this judgement. But at the beginning of the nineties, they noticed that there were many Court’s judgements that had not been carried out and so in1992 the Maastricht Treaty established that in case of non-compliance of the judgement, the European Commission can come back to the Court of Justice and ask it for the application of a financial penalty against the non-compliant State. The other function of the Court is to open a dialogue with the national judges. This is a prerogative and a peculiarity of the community law system. When they bring an issue relative to community law before a national jurisdiction, the national judge can, if he is not a last resort judge, and must, if he is a last resort judge, make the following question to the Court of Justice: do you want the interpretation of he community law, do you want the evaluation and the assessment of the validity of the community law? The national judge must comply with the judgement of the Court of Justice, provided that the national judge wants to make use of the norm for which he has asked the interpretation of the court for the solution of the dispute. This kind of Court’s competence has allowed the Court of Justice all throughout its 50 years of work, to establish all a series of principles concerning the structure of the system, that are fundamental principles of the system and that are not written in the Treaties. One of them is present in the text of the constitution signed on 29 October 2004, and it is the principle of the supremacy of the community law over the Member States’ law. But the principle of the Court that-in my opinion- is the most important, is the one relative to the direct effectiveness of the community laws, that is the possibility that these norms directly address to citizens that can benefit from them, that can make them be applied before the national judges, to make invalid the contrasting internal rules. To conclude, I’d like to mention the safeguard of the fundamental rights that the Court of Justice has been maintaining since 1969 as the general principle of the system and that has led to a huge community law before the signing of the Chart of the fundamental rights in Nice in December 2000.
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