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The European Court of First Instance is the lower level judicial body of the EU, consisting of 27 judges. It deals with direct actions by legal or natural persons against EU institutions, or actions by Member States against the Commission. It has the power to deal with many issues in the area of competition law.

It deals with direct actions by legal or natural persons against EU institutions, or actions by Member States against the Commission. It has the power to deal with many issues in the area of competition law. Its powers were increased by the Treaty of Nice.

The provisions concerning the Court of First Instance are in Articles 210, 220, 224, 225, and 225A of the EC Treaty. The Court of First Instance comprises at least one judge per Member State. The exact number of judges is determined by the Statute of the ECJ (Article 224 EC). The Treaty of Nice extended the jurisdiction of the Court of First Instance. It remains the competent body to hear direct appeals, except for those which are dealt with by the ECJ. Its rulings may be re-examined by the ECJ if there is a serious risk to the unity or consistency of EU law. Further, a new addition is the power to consider preliminary references (Article 234) if the Statute of the ECJ gives such power to the CFI in specific cases.