Amicus Curiae or Primus Inter Pares? The Advocate General and the EU Institutional Framework
Studia Iuridica, vol. 54, 2012, p. 7-13
7 Pages Posted: 26 Jul 2013 Last revised: 3 Aug 2018
Date Written: October 25, 2011
The aim of the article is to analyze and critically evaluate the role and functions performed by Advocates General (AG) within the institutional framework of the European Court of Justice. The primary function of the AG is to present a legal opinion on the assigned case. Therefore, the fundamental aim is to provide as independent and impartial opinion concerning the pending case. Those opinions are advisory and formally do not bind the Court (amicus curiae).
Nevertheless, the formal position of the AG do not match the reality as it seems that the Advocates perform a much more important function than the role provided in the Court’s Statutes. Firstly, as the written opinions are the works of a single person they are more uniform in style and legal reasoning. Often they deal with legal issues more comprehensively then the Court’s judgments. The role of the AG has been recognized in the process of development of legal principles, such as the supremacy of EU law or the direct effect (primus inter pares).
There are 8 AG working at the Court of Justice of the EU (5 nominated by big Member States of the EU and 3 other nominated by other Member States). It is possible that the number of Advocates-General may -- if the Court so requests -- be increased to 11, with six being held permanently, by the six biggest states (adding Poland to the above mentioned five states), and five being rotated between the other Member States.
Keywords: Advocate General, Court of Justice of the European Union, judicial procedure
JEL Classification: D73, H77, K33, K41
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation