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Casual but Smart: The Court’s new clothes in the Area of Freedom Security and Justice (AFSJ) after the Lisbon Treaty. Research Papers in Law, 2/2008

Hatzopoulos, Vassilis (2008) Casual but Smart: The Court’s new clothes in the Area of Freedom Security and Justice (AFSJ) after the Lisbon Treaty. Research Papers in Law, 2/2008. UNSPECIFIED.

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    Introduction. Unintended as it was, the European Court of Justice (ECJ, the Court, the Court of the EU) has played an extremely important role in the construction of the Area of Freedom Security and Justice (AFSJ). The AFSJ was set up by the Treaty of Amsterdam in 1997 and only entered into force in May 1999. The fact that this is a new field of EU competence, poses afresh all the fundamental questions – both political and legal – triggered by European integration, namely in terms of: a) distribution of powers between the Union and its Member States, b) attribution of competences between the various EU Institutions, c) direct effect and supremacy of EU rules, d) scope of competence of the ECJ, and e) extent of the protection given to fundamental rights. The above questions have prompted judicial solutions which take into account both the extremely sensible fields of law upon which the AFSJ is anchored, and the EU’s highly inconvenient three-pillar institutional framework.1 The ECJ is the body whose institutional role is to benefit most from this upcoming ‘depilarisation’, possibly more than that of the European Parliament. This structure is on the verge of being abandoned, provided the Treaty of Lisbon enters into force.2 However spectacular this formal boost of the Court’s competence, the changes in real terms are not going to be that dramatic. This apparent contradiction is explained, to a large extent, by the fact that the Court has in many ways ‘provoked’, or even ‘anticipated’, the depilarisation of its own jurisdictional role, already under the existing three-pillar structure. Simply put, under the new – post Treaty of Lisbon – regime, the Court will have full jurisdiction over all AFSJ matters, as those are going to be fully integrated in what is now the first pillar. Some limitations will continue to apply, however, while a special AFSJ procedure will be institutionalised. Indeed, if we look into the new Treaty we may identify general modifications to the Court’s structure and jurisdiction affecting the AFSJ (section 2), modifications in the field of the AFSJ stemming from the abolition of the pillar structure (section 3) and, finally, some rules specifically applicable to the AFSJ (section 4).

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    Item Type: Other
    Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > EU institutions & developments > European Court of Justice/Court of First Instance
    EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > Third Pillar/JHA/PJCC/AFSJ > general
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Series: Series > College of Europe (Brugge) > Research Papers in Law
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 01 Oct 2013 14:20
    Number of Pages: 19
    Last Modified: 01 Oct 2013 14:20

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