International Judicial Monitor
Published by the International Judicial Academy, Washington, D.C., with assistance from the
American Society of International Law

Fall 2011 Issue

Justice In Profile

Vassilios Skouris
President, European Court of Justice

Vassilios SkourisBy: James G. Apple, Editor-in-Chief, International Judicial Monitor and President, International Judicial Academy

The European Court of Justice has become one of the most powerful organs of government of the European Union, during the 59 years since it was created in 1952. Currently it is led by Dr. Vassilios Skouris of Greece, who became President of the Court in 2003. He was reelected to the position in 2009. He was first appointed to the court in June, 1999 and is the first Greek judge to preside over the Court.

Dr. Skouris is an advocate of the principle of subsidiarity, a principle underscoring individual freedoms and responsibilities and those of small communities as against larger communities.

Dr. Skouris was born in Greece in 1948. He attended the Free University of Berlin, graduating with a degree in law in 1970. He pursued a doctorate in constitutional and administrative law at the University of Hamburg, from which he graduated in 1973. He has held academic appointments at Hamburg University, Bielefeld University (Germany) and the University of Thessalonica.

He joined the Panhellenic Socialist movement upon his return to Greece and became Greek Minister of the Interior in both 1989 and 1996.

Dr. Skouris is known primarily as a European legal scholar. He served as President of the Greek Association of European Law from 1992 to 1994. He later became Director of the Center for International and European Economic Law in 1997, followed by the presidency of the Greek Economic and Social Council in 1998. Other positions held by Dr. Skouris include the Scientific Committee of the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1997–1999), Administrative Board of the Greek National Judges College (1993-1996), Greek National Research Committee (1993-1995) Higher Selection Board for Greek Civil Servants (1994-1996) and the Academic Council of the Academy of European Law, 1995.

In 2006 Dr. Skouris received an award from the Republic of Cyprus which subsequently involved him in a controversy because of his participation in a decision of the European Court of Justice involving property rights of victims of the invasion of Cyprus by Turkey in 1974.

He participated in the 50th anniversary of the European Court of Justice  by delivering a speech in which he pledged the support of the Court for the new Charter of Fundamental Rights. Such support means that individuals within European Union will have access to the Court on issues of rights of citizens within the EU member states.

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© 2011 – The International Judicial Academy
with assistance from the American Society of International Law.

Editor: James G. Apple.
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