Action for annulment of an EU act

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Series Details PE 642.282
Publication Date November 2019
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An action for annulment is a legal procedure before the Court of Justice that guarantees the conformity of EU legislative acts, regulatory acts and individual acts with the superior rules of the EU legal order. An action can be brought within two months of the publication or notification of the contested measure.

Applicants are divided into three categories: privileged, semi-privileged and non-privileged. Privileged applicants – the Member States, Parliament, Commission and Council – may bring an action for annulment purely in the interests of legality, without proving any particular interest. Semi-privileged applicants – comprising the European Committee of the Regions, the European Central Bank and the European Court of Auditors – may bring an action for annulment only to protect their own prerogatives. Finally, non-privileged applicants, comprising all natural and legal persons, including regional or local governments, may bring an action for annulment only if they prove that the contested act infringes upon their interests. More specifically, they may bring an action against an act addressed to them, or – if it is not addressed to them – if it is of direct and individual concern to them, as well as against a regulatory act that is of direct concern to them and does not entail implementing measures.

The Treaty provides five grounds for annulment, i.e. reasons for which the Court may declare an EU act to be null and void. These are lack of competence; infringement of an essential procedural requirement; infringement of the Treaties; infringement of a rule relating to the application of the Treaties; and, finally, misuse of powers.

If the Court finds the action well founded, it declares the nullity of the contested act, which, in principle, is considered null from the moment of its adoption. However, the Court may decide that some effects of the contested act should, nonetheless, remain in force in the interests of protecting legitimate interests and legal security.

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