Retired EU Judge Sues EU Court Before… EU Court
This is atypical enough to be noted: Franklin Dehousse, a former judge at the EU General Court (the lowest of the two courts housed at the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU)), recently filed, before his former court, a legal action against the CJEU on the grounds of mismanagement. This story was first reported by Politico and has, since then, been relayed by other media as well.
Franklin Dehousse served on the benches of the EU General Court between 2003 and 2016. He is a longtime critic of the CJEU’s governance system and was strongly opposed to the EU Court reforms (including a doubling of the number of EU General Court judges) initiated a couple of years ago.
Although Dehousse left the EU General Court a little over a year ago*, he has not forgone his principles or his willingness to speak out publicly on matters which continue to put him at odds with some of his former colleagues.
Through his legal action, Dehousse essentially seeks the annulment of two decisions by which the CJEU declined requests he had made in March and April 2017. He had requested access to the court’s internal documents and figures detailing the cost of IT projects and information on the use of chauffeurs by judges while on holiday. He also wanted the CJEU to reveal details of recruitment procedures for jobs that were not advertised publicly.
In the application for annulment against those two decisions, Dehousse essentially claims that, by refusing access to those documents, the CJEU violated (i) the Decision of the CJEU on public access to documents; and (ii) Article 15(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union as well as Article 42 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, in relation to public access to documents of the institutions and the duty of transparency.
The case will not be heard for a number of months.
In any case, and regardless of the EU General Court’s upcoming ruling, I already wonder whether those proceedings comply with the rights of defense and the rights to an effective remedy and fair trial enshrined in Articles 47 and 48 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, since in the case at hand, the EU Court is both the judge and the defendant…
The International Litigation Blog will keep you posted in due course. Stay tuned.
* While departing EU judges traditionally deliver a speech during a farewell ceremony, Dehousse’s departing public ceremony was cancelled. His farewell address (in which remains highly critical of the EU judicial institution) which he had hoped to deliver is, however, available here.