The Rules of Procedure of the General Court of the European Union (OJ 2023 L 44, p. 8) and the Practice Rules for the Implementation of the Rules of Procedure of the General Court (OJ 2023 L 73, p. 58) have been amended, as communicated in the press release of 31 March 2023, no 58/23, The amendments have come into force on 1 April 2023.
The amendments introduce several features to the rules of proceedings before the General Court, with the aim to promote modern and efficient justice. For instance, the amended Rules of Procedure permit the use of videoconferencing during the hearings. A request for use of videoconferencing made by a representatives prevented from participating at the hearing in person shall be satisfied, if the request is based on ‘health, security or other serious reasons’ (Article 107a Rules of Procedure).
Another amendment worth noticing is the new concept of ‘pilot case’. The concept is introduced by Article 71a of the Rules of Procedure. Article 71a lists the conditions, under which two or more pending case shall be considered as raising the same issue of law. If the conditions are met, one of the cases may be identified as the pilot case and the others stayed.
The General Court has also updated model/guidance documents addressed to the parties’ representatives, who may use the documents to prepare the actions. The guidance documents include the Aide-mémoire – Application, Model summary of the pleas in law and main arguments relied on in the application’, Aide-mémoire – Hearing of oral argument, Notice on the omission of data vis-à-vis the public in judicial proceedings. Furthermore, a new guidance has been issued to assist in their (decisions on) requests to make oral submissions by videoconference (Practical recommendations for representatives making oral submissions by videoconference).
Other amendments relate to joint hearings (Article 106a Rules of Procedure), protection of data other than personal data (Article 66a Practice Rules), signing of originals of judgements and orders of the General Court by ‘qualified electronic signature’ (Article I(F)(37) Practice Rules).