court of first instance(redirected from courts of first instance)
Also found in: Dictionary.
court of first instancea court in which legal proceedings are begun or first heard. The European Union has a court which is actually called the COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE.
Court of First Instance (CFI)(of the European Union) a court created by the Single European Act 1987 that has a jurisdiction to hear and determine at first instance certain actions brought by natural or legal persons. There is a right of appeal to the Court of Justice of the European Union. It has 25 members, appointed for a renewable term of six years, any of whom (with the exception of the appointed President) may carry out the function of Advocate General of the Court. The CFI may sit in chambers of three or five Judges, a Grand Chamber of eleven Judges or a single Judge. It can also sit in plenary session as Grand Chamber or Chamber composed of a different number of judges ‘whenever the legal difficulty or the importance of the case or special circumstances so justify’.
The CFI has jurisdiction over: disputes between the institutions and their employees; actions against the Commission by undertakings in relation to European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) charges; actions in relation to competition policy rules; actions for damages caused by an institution in respect of a matter over which the Court of First Instance has jurisdiction; by Council Decision 94/194 (7/3/94), a further transfer of jurisdiction was accomplished. The Court of First Instance now considers actions brought by persons for annulment and failure to act under the ECSC Treaty (relating to Article 74) and under the European Economic Community (EEC) Treaty in the case of antidumping and subsidies. Soon it is expected to take most cases other than preliminary hearings.