4 April 2023Muireann Bolger

New CJEU rules allow for video hearings and pilot cases

‘Significant’ amendments came into force this month | Court adopted a legal and technical framework for video hearings during the COVID-19 pandemic | New guarantees offered in ‘pilot case’ scenarios.

The  Court of Justice for the European Union (CJEU) has unveiled significant amendments to the General Court’s rules of procedure, which now include the option of videoconferencing for hearings.

In a  statement, the CJEU confirmed that the amendments came into effect at the start of this month “to promote modern and efficient justice”.

Video hearings

The new amendments, it added, make the best use of the court’s time, in particular by “clarifying or simplifying certain provisions”. They allow for the possibility of using videoconferencing for hearings, after the court adopted a legal and technical framework for that purpose during the COVID-19 pandemic. Videoconferencing proved essential to ensuring the continuity of justice during the health crisis, said the statement.

It added, however, that any request for the use of videoconferencing made by a representative who is prevented from participating in a hearing in person must be based on ‘health, security or other serious reasons’ (Article 107a of the Rules of Procedure).

The move comes after the  European Patent Office (EPO) made its  controversial decision in November 2022 to make video hearings mandatory for all parties, except in exceptional circumstances.

Pilot cases

The amendments also establish the concept of the ‘pilot case’ and specify the circumstances in which, where pending cases raise the same issue of law, one of those cases is to be identified as the pilot case and the others stayed.

New guarantees are offered: the pilot case will be given priority over others and the parties in the stayed cases will be heard once their cases are resumed. The General Court will be able to organise joint hearings of two or more cases where there are similarities between them.

The General Court has also amended its practice rules for the implementation of its Rules of Procedure, and it has taken account of developments in the rules on the protection of personal data.

The amendments were published in the  Official Journal of the European Union on March 10 2023 (OJ 2023 L 73, p.58).

Already registered?

Login to your account

To request a FREE 2-week trial subscription, please signup.
NOTE - this can take up to 48hrs to be approved.

Two Weeks Free Trial

For multi-user price options, or to check if your company has an existing subscription that we can add you to for FREE, please email Adrian Tapping at

More on this story

25 November 2022   Oral proceedings to take place by online except “in certain circumstances” | COVID-19 cited as a catalyst for change | CIPA hails move as positive, while others lambast “disgraceful” decision.
19 March 2021   The much-anticipated ruling in Bild-Kunst diverged from an Advocate General’s opinion, and could herald a sea change for copyright owners. Cristina Creţu and Flavia Ștefura of Maravela, Popescu & Asociații report.