The court was established in 1952, by the Treaty of Paris (1951) as part of the European Coal and Steel Community. It was established with seven judges, allowing both representation of each of the six member States and being an odd number of judges in case of a tie. One judge was appointed from each member state and the seventh seat rotated between the "large Member States" (West Germany, France and Italy). It became an institution of two additional Communities in 1957 when the (EEC), and the (Euratom) were created, sharing the same courts with the European Coal and Steel Community.
The Maastricht Treaty was ratified in 1993, and created the European Union. The name of the Court did not change unlike the other institutions. The power of the Court resided in the Community pillar (the first pillar).
The Court gained power in 1997 with the signing of the Amsterdam Treaty. Issues from the third pillar were transferred to the first pillar. Previously, these issues were settled between the member states.
Following the entrance into force of the Treaty of Lisbon on 1 December 2009, the ECJ's official name was changed from the "Court of Justice of the European Communities" to the "Court of Justice" although in English it is still most common to refer to the Court as the European Court of Justice. The Court of First Instance was renamed as the "General Court", and the term "Court of Justice of the European Union" will officially designate the two courts, as along with its specialised tribunals, taken together.