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27 Common Market L. Rev. 683 (1990)
Does the Court of Justice Have Inherent Jurisdiction

handle is hein.kluwer/cmlr0027 and id is 691 raw text is: Common Market Law Review 27: 683-708, 1990.
© 1990 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Printed in the Netherlands.
Several recent decisions of the Court of Justice on the circumstances in
which it will intervene in situations not expressly envisaged by the
Treaties raise fundamental questions about the nature of its jurisdic-
tion. It is the purpose of this article to quesion whether certain widely-
held assumptions about the Court's powers remain valid in the light of
developments in its case law and to suggest an alternative basis on which
its jurisdiction might be developed.
1. The traditional view of the Court's jurisdiction
Under the EEC Treaty, the Court of Justice is one of the four institu-
tions by which, according to Article 4, the tasks entrusted to the Com-
munity are to be carried out. That provision states that each institution
is to act within the limits of the powers conferred upon it by this
Treaty. The special responsibility of the Court is laid down in Article
164. This provides that: The Court of Justice shall ensure that in the
interpretation and application of this Treaty the law is observed.
There then follow a number of more detailed provisions which confer
on the Court specific heads of jurisdiction.1
The Court's jurisdiction is usually characterized as a competence
d'attribution. In other words, its powers are said to be limited to those
*. Legal Secretary at the Court of Justice. The views expressed are purely personal.
1. See e.g., Arts. 169, 173, 175, 177 and 215(2) EEC. The rble of the Court under
the ECSC and Euratom Treaties is broadly similar.
Copyright © 2007 by Kluwer Law International. All rights reserved.
No claim asserted to original government works.

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