ECJ admits translation backlog

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has admitted delays in translating its growing case records into English, blaming staff shortages caused by a dearth of multilingual EU lawyers whose mother tongue is English.

As The Lawyer went to press, the most recent proceedings translated into English and posted on the court’s website dated back to last December.

In a statement, the ECJ said: “With the ever-increasing workload, it is simply physically impossible for the English translation section to translate everything in time.”

The admission comes as the ECJ releases its latest annual report, showing that the number of cases dealt with by its senior court was 513 last year, up from 434 in 2001.

There has also been a surge in new cases from the Court of First Instance, where 411 new cases were lodged last year, up from 345 in 2001. This increase in workload was tempered by a slower rate of settling cases in the first instance court – 331 compared with 340 – and fewer new cases being launched at the senior ECJ – 477 compared with 504 in 2001.

The report said that the court has had to manage this increase in work while also preparing for the forthcoming Treaty of Nice and the accession of eastern European countries as new member states, both of which will impact on the ECJ’s workload.