Benelux Court of Justice

by Mehdi Belkahla

This paper was first published as ‘MPILux Working Paper 2 (2017)’. The full and final text is now available online as an entry of the Max Planck Encyclopedia of International Procedural Law, published by OUP at

Abstract: The Benelux Court of Justice is-after the International Court of Justice, the European Court of HumanRights and the European Court of Justice-one of the oldest international courts still in existence. TheTreaty establishing it came about as early as 31 March 1965 and entered into force between its threeStates Parties-the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg-on 1 January 1974. Since then, the Courthas produced a fairly significant amount of case law and a number of additional and modifyingprotocols have come to extend its jurisdiction, which makes it a particularly dynamic court.

As Benelux Union's main judicial body, the Court's raison d'être is mostly to be found in theorganization's role and mandate. The ever-evolving jurisdiction of the Court has indeed always gonehand in hand with the development of the Benelux Union's activities. Also of note is the similarjurisdiction that the Benelux Court of Justice shares with its European Union counterpart, theEuropean Court of Justice; a fact that has consistently fostered comparison and competition betweenboth courts. The former has however taken a leap forward in 2012 with a unique jurisdiction whichnot even the latter can wield. Indeed the Court is now competent to directly settle disputes relating tothe application of the organization's legislation. Against this context and at an hour of increasingdistrust towards international judges, one can only be struck by the States Parties' willingness to confernew powers to the Benelux Court of Justice.