The EFTA Court’s Statute and its Rules of Procedure are modeled on those of the European Court of Justice. Individuals and economic operators have broad access to the Court. The EFTA Court is in particular competent to decide on:
- Actions brought by the EFTA Surveillance Authority against an EFTA State for infringement of the EEA Agreement or the Surveillance and Court Agreement. The commencement of proceedings before the EFTA Court is preceded by a preliminary procedure conducted by the EFTA Surveillance Authority, which gives the EFTA State concerned the opportunity to reply to the complaints against it. If that procedure does not result in termination of the failure by the Member State, the EFTA Surveillance Authority may bring an action for breach of EEA law before the EFTA Court. If the Court finds that an obligation has not been fulfilled, the EFTA State concerned must terminate the breach without delay;
- Actions concerning the settlement of disputes between two or more EFTA States regarding the interpretation or application of the EEA Agreement, the Agreement on a Standing Committee of the EFTA States or the present Agreement;
- Actions for nullity brought by an EFTA State or an individual or legal person against a decision of the EFTA Surveillance Authority;
- Actions for failure to act brought by an EFTA State or a natural or legal person against the EFTA Surveillance Authority;
- Moreover, the EFTA Court has jurisdiction to give judgment in the form of an advisory opinion on the interpretation of the EEA Agreement upon a request of a national court of an EEA/EFTA State. The referring national court will then decide the case before it based on the EFTA Court’s answer. Judgments in the form of an advisory opinion are not legally binding on the national court. In practice, they are, however, not weaker than the preliminary rulings rendered by the European Court of Justice under Article 234 EC.
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