EU Court refuses FFII amicus curiae brief on ACTA

On 13 November 2012 the FFII sent an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief about the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) to the Court of Justice of the European Union. A few hours later the registry of the court informed the FFII that only the Member States, the European Parliament, the Council and the European Commission may participate in the Opinion procedure and submit written statements. The Court does not accept amicus curiae briefs from third parties.

This is awkward. The court is going to decide on citizens’ rights, but does not want to hear from citizens.

This is so… 799? (According to wikipedia, starting in the 9th century, amicus curiae briefs were incorporated to English law.) The European Court of Human Rights allows them (with the permission of the court), and regularly does accept them.

The court is a strong defender of openness, like in the Turco case. It is November 2012 by now, almost three years after the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty. Opinions on agreements are not only about Community / Union competence any more, but can also regard, as in the ACTA case, human rights. Why didn’t the court update its own procedures?

After the massive protests in the streets of Europe, an “about the people, without the people” approach will damage the credibility of the court’s opinion. And it does not seem compatible with the Guiding principles on human rights impact assessments of trade and investment agreements.

In my opinion, the court should take notice of at least three opinions: Korff and Brown, ARTICLE 19 and FFII. [1] The opinions voice serious concerns, the court should address them.

[1] Korff, D. and Brown, I., (2011), Opinion on the compatibility of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) with the European Convention on Human Rights & the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, http://rfc.act-on-acta.eu/fundamental-rights mirror: http://people.ffii.org/~ante/acta/Korff-Brown.pdf

ARTICLE 19, (2011), European Parliament: Reject Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), http://www.article19.org/resources.php/resource/2901/en/european-parliament:-reject-anti-counterfeiting-trade-agreement-%28acta%29

FFII, (2012), FFII amicus curiae brief on ACTA, http://people.ffii.org/~ante/acta/FFII-ACTA-amicus-brief-2012.html

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4 Responses to EU Court refuses FFII amicus curiae brief on ACTA

  1. Pingback: Court of Justice of the European Union Tells Public to Keep Out of ACTA Process | Techrights

  2. zoobab says:

    ECJ is a bastion for citizens.

  3. Pingback: FFII asks EU Court to accept amicus curiae briefs on ACTA | ACTA

  4. Citizens should have a strong say in all the matters that involve them. Passing laws arbitrarily will only cause dissent among people.