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Court Of Justice of the Benelux Economic Union - Description [2003] PICTRes 6 (31 October 2003)

Court Of Justice of the Benelux Economic Union

The Benelux Economic Union is the result of several initiatives, started in 1944, to move towards economic cooperation between Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands. The Treaty establishing the Benelux Economic Union (Benelux Treaty), which codifies the earlier arrangements, was signed in 1958.

The main purposes of the Benelux Economic Union are the promotion of the free movement of goods, persons, services, and capital, and several projects of regional cooperation in a wide range of areas, from conservation of the countryside to intellectual property. The principal organs of the Benelux are the Committee of Ministers, the Secretariat General, and the Benelux Court of Justice. The Benelux Treaty also provides for the establishment of a College of Arbitrators to settle disputes between the governments. Since the first nomination of the arbitrators in 1962 however, no new arbitrators have been appointed and the disputes between the governments have been resolved at the level of the political bodies.

The Court achieves a high degree of integration from an institutional point of view since the judges, members of the supreme courts of the three member States appointed to the Court, continue to exercise their functions at the national level. The Court has two functions: it promotes uniformity in the application of rules of law common to Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands by way of preliminary ruling, and it has jurisdiction in administrative cases.

The preliminary jurisdiction of the Court was copied from the preliminary proceedings of the European Court of Justice, but it has a broader scope since it is not limited to the economic union but also extends to civil and criminal matters.

PICT Data obtained from the Project on International Courts and Tribunals (PICT)

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