European Court of Justice and preliminary ruling proceedings *
How is the European Union enlargement reflected in the work of the Court of Justice of the European Communities?
A great increase in the number of court cases was expected after 2004 expansion. Unfortunately this did not happen. On the contrary, the number of cases received by the court decreased. By the time this article was written, not a single application for preliminary ruling had arrived from Estonia. Yet there is no reason to think that the number of cases will decrease in years to come as well. The judges of new member states needed time to adjust to the new situation, which is why we can expect an increase in the number of cases to resume in the future. In concluding, the writers hope that this short overview of the relations and judicial process of the European Court of Justice, although foremost an expression of their own personal positions and not the official ones of the European Court of Justice, will help people better understand how the European Union judicial system operates. Familiarity with the work of the European Court of Justice is not necessary merely for judges. Knowledge of judicial practice is an inseparable part of the work of national officials.
*The opinions expressed in this article reflect the personal views of the authors and do not present the official positions of the European Court.