Eleanor Sharpston QC has today been removed from her position as a member of the EU Court of Justice - even though her mandate has more than a year to run.
The development came after the vice-president of the court set aside a temporary injunction obtained by Sharpston last week.
Her name no longer appears on the court’s membership list. She has already been replaced as one of the EU court’s advocates general by Athanasios Rantos, from Greece, who was sworn in this morning.
It is normal practice for the outgoing advocate general to be invited to the ceremony and thanked for their service. But Sharpston was not notified of the swearing-in and so was not present.
Her team of lawyers have not been told whether they are now out of work. Normally, they leave when their advocate general stands down. But neither Sharpston nor her legal team were given advance warning of today’s events, which appear to have been pre-planned.
Rosario Silva de Lapuerta, vice-president of the EU Court of Justice, this morning granted an appeal by the 27 EU states against last Friday’s temporary injunction. Rantos was sworn in some 30 minutes later.
She said the main action brought by Sharpston was manifestly inadmissible and had no prospect of success. For that reason, Judge Collins had made an error of law.
Silva de Lapuerta then ruled that the main action was manifestly inadmissible.
Sharpston, a national of both the UK and Luxembourg, is expected to take her case to the European Court of Human Rights. She has served the court for 14 years.
In a statement this afternoon, Sharpston questioned the order that led to her dismissal and pledged to uphold the rule of law in the EU. ’I do not think that today’s events have enhanced it,’ she said.
’My legal team and I are now considering precisely what steps we can and should take,’ she added.