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Opening of the historical archives of the Court of Justice of the European Union

Posted on 01 March 2016

Having deposited its archives at the Historical archives of the European Union in July 2014, the Court of Justice of the European Union has decided to open the collection to the public, making the papers available to researchers, historians, and EU citizens in general.

In 1952, the Treaty of the European Coal and Steel Community established the Court of Justice of the ECSC, which became the Court of Justice of the European Communities with the entry into force of the Treaties of Rome on 7 October 1958. The Court of Justice of the  EC exercised the competences established by the Treaty of ECSC until its expiry on July 2002, when it became the Court of Justice of the European Union, the name by which it is currently known.

According to the 30 years rule governing access to archives of the European Union,the Court of Justice of the European Union transferred to the Historical Archives of the European Union in Florence records dating from 1952 to 1978, and decided to open for consultation  the legal documents, such as judgements and original procedure records.

The series Judgments and Orders, contains all the decisions taken by the Court of Justice from 1954 to 1982. The HAEU maintains the original documents and collections of judgments and orders of the Court of Justice, bound and bearing the seal of the Court as well as original signatures of the judges.

The Original Procedure Records constitutes a new and important resource for legal students.  The seriesincludes all the pleadings related to a case, allowing the researcher to follow the progress of the proceedings step by step, depending on whether it is a preliminary ruling or a direct action. The written procedure is followed by the investigation into the case, the oral stage (public) and the judgements (possibly preceded by the conclusions). In some cases, the files contain provisional measures, interventions, statements of defence, the replies and rejoinders, observations, pleas of admissibility, costs and legal aid.  Consultation to these documents will be granted on request.

The consultation of the records is subjected to a preliminary examination of the applications by the Court of Justice of the European Union, with particular regard to the protection of privacy, commercial interests and the secrecy of deliberations. The speed of replies may vary according to the complexity and volume of files. Applications for consultation must be sent to [email protected]. If approved, the applicant will be able to consult the documents, free of charge, on the premises of the Historical Archives of the European Union in Florence.

Direct Access: Fonds of the Court of Justice of the European Union