Sanitary measures announced by the Court of Justice of the European Union in order to host hearings
The Court of Justice of the European Union has announced the adoption of several sanitary measures to ensure that hearings can take place from the end of May and from the beginning of June.
These measures have been applied in the Court of Justice and in the General Court and concern access to the institution’s buildings and the rules that must be complied while moving around within them, and the arrangements for the hearing itself, which have been adapted in response to the current exceptional circumstances.
The reception procedure for the parties’ representatives will be similar to the usual procedure, subject to:
- A temperature check to be carried out at a distance (persons with a temperature higher than 38°C will not be permitted to enter the buildings), and
- Signing a declaration stating inter alia that, to his or her knowledge, the person has not been a carrier of Covid-19 during the preceding two weeks and that he or she has not been in contact, during the same period, with anyone suffering from Covid-19.
If the parties’ representatives won’t bring masks, the security service will provide them appropriate masks. It is mandatory to worn masks while moving around the institution’s buildings and wherever it is not possible to maintain 2 meters between two people.
Within the courts, tables, microphones and earphones will be disinfected after each hearing. Gowns will not be available for use by parties’ representatives. If agents and lawyers can't use their own gown at the hearing, they will plead without it.
Members of the formation of the Court hearing the case will not meet with the parties’ representatives before the start of the hearing. The presence of those representatives will be checked, before the start of the hearing and at a distance, by the registrar for the hearing and the court usher.
The parties’ representatives will be positioned in such a way as to maintain a 2 meters distance between each person present within the room. If the microphone will be used by different people, it will be cleaned and disinfected after each intervention.
Also, the judicial activities have changed, temporarily, regarding several measures approved by the Court of Justice of the European Union.
Procedural time limits for instituting proceedings and lodging appeals continue to run and parties are required to comply with those time limits, without prejudice to the possible application of the second paragraph of Article 45 of the Protocol on the Statute of the Court of Justice of the European Union.
Time limits prescribed in the proceedings are extended by one month, except of particularly urgent proceedings. The time limits that are to be fixed by the registry shall be increased by one month.
Hearings were suspended with effect from 16 March 2020 and they were reopened on 25 May 2020. The Court of Justice will take all necessary measures to ensure that those hearings take place under optimal conditions from logistical and sanitary perspectives but these are dependent on the decisions taken by the national authorities to stop the transmission of COVID-19. it cannot be ruled out that some of those hearings will have to be replaced with questions to the parties for a written response owing to the difficulties caused by the virus.