The Court of Justice of the European Union issued today a press release (available here) with statistics regarding judicial activity in 2010.

According to this press release, in the entire history of the institution, there have never been so many cases brought before the three courts comprising the Court of Justice of the European Union: 1,406 cases were brought in 2010. That figure reflects the constant increase in the volume of European Union litigation. The document also draws our attention to another trend in 2010: the overall reduction in the duration of proceedings.

More specifically, in 2010 the Court of Justice had 631 new cases brought before it, which constitutes the highest number of cases brought in the Court’s history. The situation is identical as regards references for a preliminary ruling. In 2010 the number of references for a preliminary ruling submitted was, for the second year in succession, the highest ever reached, and it exceeded the number in 2009 by 27.4% (385 cases in 2010 compared with 302 cases in 2009). The Court completed 574 cases in 2010, a slight decrease compared with the previous year (588 cases completed in 2009). As far as the duration of proceedings is concerned, the statistics show that in the case of references for a preliminary ruling, the average duration amounted to 16.1 months. A comparative analysis covering the entire period for which the Court has reliable statistical data shows that the average time taken to deal with references for a preliminary ruling reached its shortest in 2010.

With respect to the General Court, the press release highlights the large increase in the number of new cases brought, rising from 568 (in 2009) to 636 (in 2010), a level never reached before. The General Court completed 527 cases; this was, nevertheless, not sufficient to contain the increase in pending cases, which numbered 1,300 as of 31 December 2010. However, the duration of proceedings was reduced by an average of 2.5 months (from 27.2 months in 2009 to 24.7 months in 2010).