A delegation from the Franco-British Lawyers’ Society (AJFB/FBLS/Society) was welcomed on a visit to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU/court) on 11th July 2017, initiated by Eleanor Sharpston, Advocate General at the CJEU. Members of the Society from England, Scotland and France had meetings with three judges of the court: Advocate General Eleanor Sharpston QC, Advocate General Yves Bot and Sir Ian Forrester, Judge in the CJEU Court of First Instance. They reminded members of the important work of the court which is the corner stone of the jurisdictional architecture of the European Union, as well as giving practical guidance recommendations for preparing cases to be heard by the court. The CJEU has more and more submissions from the national jurisdictions of the 28 member States of the European Union. For 2016 alone, the court recorded 453 contentious cases (and at First Instance 974 matters of which 832 were direct references). The States who most often made referrals were Germany and Italy. For this visit, the fifth organised by David Guild the référendaire for Advocate General Eleanor Sharpston, and Athanase Popov, a lawyer at the European Commission, the delegation from the Society sat in on an urgent hearing – procédure préjudicielle d’urgence (PPU). The visit was also very impressive in demonstrating the work of the linguist-interpreters who covered 24 possible languages with all that involves including all the attendant difficulties of procedural issues of the court. The importance of translation was underlined as all the acts of the court have to be translated into all the official languages of the European Union.
During discussions, President of the AJFB/FBLS, Bernard Vatier, commented on the great importance of oral pleading in the hearings and regretted the that arguments of constraint and delay put forward reducing the role of oral submissions when it was an essential step in putting forward arguments before the judges.
The AJFB/FBLS is a Society made up of four sections, in France, England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and a branch in Luxembourg. The Society’s next annual colloquium, on Business and Brexit, will take place in London on 22 September 2017. www.fbls.eu firstname.lastname@example.org or www.ajfb.eu version française email@example.com