25 April 2022


The hearings of the EU Court of Justice will finally be truly public – but only 7% of the cases

by The Good Lobby

The Court of Justice of the European Union will finally broadcast (some of) its hearings, thus rendering them truly public as per the Treaties of the Union. However, only 7% of the Court’s cases – those decided by the Court’s Grand Chamber – will be subject to the new publicity policy via recordings that will be available for a limited amount of time. 


Read the full press release.


The European Court of Justice announced it will offer a broadcast by streaming the delivery of all judgments and opinions as well as their public hearings. While this new publicity policy is set to align the Court’s judicial practice with its Treaty obligations and international standards followed by both domestic and international courts, it only covers the cases assigned to the Grand Chamber. This amounts to only 7% of cases decided by the Court annually, a small percentage of the overall number of cases decided annually. In addition, the hearing will not be truly streamed live, but its recording will be made available for a limited amount of time.


The Court of Justice of the European Union’s hearings are meant to be public, yet attending one continues to require traveling to Luxembourg.  This is an important step forward but falls short of truly fulfilling the general principle whereby hearings are public.


An important number of cases are heard daily at the Court of Justice of the European Union. The litigated issues influence the lives of millions of European citizens. From minorities’ rights to the rule of law in rising autocratic regimes, from gender discrimination to the growing power of digital platforms. The hearings of The Court of Justice must embrace openness in its activities to fulfill the duty of making justice transparent to citizens. 


To address this gap, The Good Lobby has been advocating for the Court of Justice to webstream its hearings, as do many other high and international courts. An online campaign is collecting signatures to ensure the Court becomes truly public as required by the Treaty – and the citizens. 


Professor Alberto Alemanno, whose scholarly writings and advocacy contributed to the Court’s policy shift, welcomed the Court’s announcement by stating : 


“After showing resistance, the Court eventually broke a taboo today by embracing openness – as required by the Treaty – in its judicial activities. While this policy change in the publicity of its hearings remains modest – by covering a tiny percentage of cases delivered by the Court annually -, it suggests some readiness to align its judicial practice to the international standard of openness required by the Treaty and expected by citizens”.


The Good Lobby has advocated for the live streaming of the Court of Justice and has formally called for awareness of the Court. Read here the Open letter to the President of the European Court of Justice asking for public hearings to be live-streamed.


A first campaign on this topic had been launched on February 2021, you can still join it by signing the petition, click here.