POSTS BY Graham Butler

It’s Urgent III

10 September 2020 was a watershed moment for the Court of Justice’s independence: the Court, through its Vice-President, has agreed to dismiss its own sitting member without even notifying her of the appeal against the suspensory order protecting her tenure guaranteed in the EU Treaties. It did so by arguing, effectively, that the Member States could dismiss members of the Court at will, and that such decisions were beyond judicial review: AG Sharpston’s fight for the independence of the Court, according to that very Court through its Vice-President, had ‘prima facie’ ‘no prospect of success’.

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It’s Urgent II

On Friday 4 September 2020, Judge Anthony Collins of the General Court has ordered the suspension of operation and all consequential effects of the Decision of the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States, in so far as it purports to appoint Mr. Athanasios Rantos to the position of Advocate General of the Court of Justice. The significance of this development for the independence of the judiciary in the EU and the general articulation of the rule of law in Europe is difficult to overestimate.

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It’s Urgent

In a remarkable move, the Member States appointed, on 2 September 2020, an Advocate General put forward by Greece, who will enter into office on 7 September 2020 if Member States get their way. There is a ginormous problem with this move, as the office that this Advocate General will try to fill, as things stand, does not become vacant until October 2021. Eleanor Sharpston, the officeholder presently in situ, remains there until then. Any other reading of EU law is tantamount to the Member States sacking a member of the Court in direct violation of the primary law. This is a wholly unacceptable scenario in a Union grounded and predicated upon the rule of law. Urgent measures are thus necessary to save not only the legitimacy of the Court, but that of the EU.

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