Euro-courts are not political, argues barrister in new book

Chris Fogarty reports

The embattled European courts face a positive future, despite being a "political football", according to Richard Plender QC, who has compiled a new book on their workings.

"The notion that the European courts are political is very widespread, and I think it is misplaced," said Plender, editor of the 1,000-page European Courts: Practice and Precedents.

The book includes contributors from most EU member states on rulings, cases and model pleadings.

Plender stressed that the courts had sought to avoid involvement in political debates, but he acknowledged that they faced serious problems, including delays and the "ambiguity of some judgments".

He said language problems, the need for accurate translation and the fact that 15 judges had to sit on the bench meant it often took years for a case to be heard.

"I believe that if there was a sensible political debate about the court, these problems could be addressed," said Plender.