Key facts of the case:
Appeal — Action for annulment — Article 19 of the Statute of the Court of Justice of the European Union — Representation of parties in direct actions before the Courts of the European Union — Lawyer representing the applicant as a third party — Article 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.
Outcome of the case:
On those grounds, the Court (Grand Chamber) hereby:
41) The Czech Republic recalls that representation by a lawyer before the courts is part of the right to effective judicial protection guaranteed by Article 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (‘the Charter’). Forbidding an applicant to conclude a legal representation agreement with a lawyer with whom it also has a contractual connection is liable to expose that applicant to additional costs.
42) The National Chamber of Legal Advisers considers that not only the act of prohibiting the representation of a party referred to in the third and fourth paragraphs of Article 19 of the Statute by a lawyer who is contractually connected to that party, but also the situation resulting from that prohibition, namely the dismissal of the action with no possibility of rectifying the alleged procedural defect, is a limitation of the right to an effective remedy before the General Court protected by Article 47 of the Charter.
43) The REA pleads, first of all, the inadmissibility of both appeals in so far as they raise arguments relating to the assessment of the facts and are based on pleas in law and arguments that have already been discussed before the General Court. Next, it argues that the University of Wrocław’s appeal is inadmissible in so far as it is based on facts relating to the situation of the lawyer concerned which were not submitted to the General Court. Lastly, it contends that the arguments used by the Czech Republic and the National Chamber of Legal Advisers in their statements in intervention are inadmissible inasmuch as they refer to infringement of Article 47 of the Charter; no such argument has been put forward by either the University of Wrocław or the Republic of Poland. The Czech Republic’s line of argument is also inadmissible inasmuch as it does not identify any specific paragraph of the order under appeal.
46) It contends that, in any event, the line of argument based on Article 47 of the Charter must be rejected as unfounded, in so far as the inadmissibility of the action would not prevent the University of Wrocław from being represented by another adviser in order to bring new proceedings before the General Court on the basis of Article 272 TFEU. Findings of the Court
52) However, in so far as the Republic of Poland is relying, in particular, on a failure to observe the principle of effective judicial protection guaranteed by Article 47 of the Charter, the arguments raised by the Czech Republic and the National Chamber of Legal Advisers as referred to in paragraphs 41 and 42 above are not such as to alter the subject matter of the dispute as defined by the forms of order sought and the pleas in law raised by the Republic of Poland.