Judge Ena Cremona to step down from EU court

Judge Ena Cremona, the Maltese judge at the General Court of the European Union – formerly the European Court of Justice’s first court of instance – has written to the President of the Court and to Prime Minister Gonzi informing them of her intention to step down from her post as of September 2011.

Cremona, 74, who has been sitting on the Court of First Instance in Luxembourg since Malta’s accession to the EU in 2004, was reappointed to serve another six-year term in 2007.

In her resignation letter, Cremona said that she had reflected on the duration of her term and felt she had to resign her position after six years.

Although Judge Cremona’s appointment had been expected to run to 31 August, 2013, she has decided to end her turn by September 2011.

While Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi is reportedly informed of her letter, the resignation was formally communicated to the Presidents of the General Court and the Court of Justice of the European Union, and to the president of the European Union’s Council of Ministers.

The appointment of a judge is made by the governments of the EU member states – through the Council – following a recommendation by the respective government. The Maltese government is now expected to start its search for a successor to Judge Cremona.

Under the terms of article 255 of the Lisbon Treaty, once nominated, a candidate's suitability to perform duties of a Judge will be assessed by a panel made up of seven persons that includes former members of the Court, members of national supreme courts and lawyers of recognised competence.

The workings of the Court of Justice are conducted in French and member states are expected to nominate persons with sufficient experience and knowledge to able to perform their duty at European Union level.

This will be the first international judicial nomination for Gonzi’s government since the lengthy ping-pong with the Council of Europe that led finally to the appointment of Judge Vincent De Gaetano as a judge on the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

Born in 1936, Judge Cremona graduated as a lawyer from the University of Malta in 1958.  She was the second woman to graduate as a lawyer from the University of Malta and the first to actively practice in court. Apart from exercising her legal profession, she also served on a number of public bodies.

She was a member of the Public Service Commission between 1987 and 1989, represented the government on the board of directors of Lombard Bank and was a member of the Electoral Commission. She was a member of the Member of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance between 2003 and 2004. On 13 December 2006, Judge Ena Cremona was made an Officer of the Order of Merit.

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