Past, present and future: positioning the Boards of Appeal of European Union agencies in the European Administration
PhD student: Mrs S. Oosterhuis
Promotors: Prof R.J.G.M. Widdershoven, Mrs Dr M.O. Scholten, M. Gargantini
Duration: 1/3/2021 - 28/2/2025
Over the last couple of decades, the European Union (EU) experienced an increased recourse to a particular kind of administrative bodies: the European agencies. This agentification process has led to a more decentralised and specialised European administration, in which more and more agencies are empowered to adopt binding individual decisions. In these agencies, boards of appeal are established as dispute settlement mechanisms. Although the oldest board of appeal has existed for more than 25 years, the nature of the appeal procedure has always been unclear. Boards of appeal were initially intended as an internal control mechanism within the agency, operating as administrative bodies. At the same time, they possess some judicial features which qualify them as hybrid or quasi-judicial bodies. Their administrative nature has, nevertheless, been emphasised several times by the EU courts. However, recent developments show a shift from qualifying the boards of appeal as judicial bodies rather than administrative bodies. Their new judicial position has implications for the the functioning of the boards of appeal, as they are likely to operate more like the EU courts rather than the agencies. It is still unclear if and how this new position can be reconciled with the original intended administrative position of the boards of appeal. This shift also address the underlying, and more existential question: why do we have boards of appeal in the first place? This dissertation aims to clarify the nature of the appeal proceedings at the boards of appeal and to explore how the they should be positioned within the European administration. With the use of empirical methods, such as interviews and surveys, the historical, current and intended functioning of the boards of appeal is analysed. This includes looking into procedural and institutional aspects, such as the intensity of review and independence safeguards.