European Institutions in Luxembourg
50 years of the Court of Justice of the European Communities
As part of the process of European unification, treaties entered into between the States have created institutions (Council of Europe, European Parliament, etc.) which adopt legal rules in specific fields. Thus, the Communities produce their own legal acts and laws.
To ensure these laws are respected, understood, and uniformly applied in all the Member States, a special court was created by the CECA (European Coal and Steel Community) in 1952 and it was headquartered in Luxembourg. In 1957, following the Treaties of Rome, this first institution became the Court of Justice of the European Communities. The Court of First Instance was created in 1989 in order to assist the Court of Justice with its workload.
The Court of Justice and the Court of First Instance, along with national courts, constitute the judicial power of the European Community.
The essential task of the Court of Justice is the uniform interpretation of Community law. In particular, it answers questions which are referred to it by national courts that are applying the law at a local level. Numerous national laws have Community origins, in particular in the fields of employment law, environmental law, consumer protection, and free movement of goods, etc., and these laws increasingly affect citizens in their everyday activities. The Court of Justice, in its interpretation and enforcement of Community law, must therefore take into consideration the concerns of citizens in the different aspects of their daily life.