The Court of Justice of the European Union has issued new rules of procedure which will enter into force on 1 November 2012. The main aim of the rules is to adapt to changes in the Court’s caseload and to encourage cases to be dealt with swiftly and efficiently. In particular the rules relax the conditions for the Court’s adoption of a reasoned order, a simple order disposing of the case without a hearing or judgment. Under the new rules such an order can be made in circumstances where the answer to the question referred by a national court can be clearly deduced from existing case-law or where the answer to the question admits of no reasonable doubt. The new rules also give the Court greater liberty to dispense with the need for a hearing in circumstances where it considers that it has sufficient information from the written pleadings.
It is anticipated that adoption of these rules together with the creation of two additional Chambers of 3 and 5 judges each will further reduce the length of proceedings before the Court. The average length of proceedings has already reduced over the last few years (16.4 months in 2011 compared with over 25 months in 2003).