Preliminary Ruling Legal Meaning

Preliminary Ruling Legal Meaning

A preliminary ruling is a decision of the Court of Justice of the European Communities (CJEU) on the interpretation of European Union law, issued at the request of a court of a Member State of the European Union. A preliminary ruling is a final decision under EU law without the possibility of appeal. The CJEU leaves its decision to the referring court, which is then obliged to comply with the judgment. The Court of Justice shall cooperate with all courts of the Member States, which are the ordinary courts in matters of Union law. In order to ensure the effective and uniform application of Union law and to avoid divergent interpretations, national courts can and should refer the matter to the Court of Justice and ask it to clarify a point of interpretation of Union law, for example in order to verify whether their national legislation is compatible with Union law. A request for a preliminary ruling may also be made to request a review of the validity of an EU measure. The Court`s reply is not merely an opinion, but takes the form of a judgment or a reasoned decision. The national court to which it is addressed is bound by the interpretation in order to resolve the dispute before it. The Court`s judgment is also binding on other national courts which raise the same problem. Thus, any citizen of the Union may, by means of a reference for a preliminary ruling, request clarification of the EU rules concerning him. Although such a request may only be made by a national court, all parties to the proceedings before that court, the Member States and the institutions of the Union may participate in the proceedings before the Court of Justice. Thus, several important principles of EU law have been established by means of preliminary rulings, sometimes in response to questions referred by national courts of first instance. Numerous judgments have been handed down in the field of free movement.

In Kraus (1993), the Court held that the situation of a Community citizen holding a postgraduate university degree awarded in another Member State which facilitates access to a profession or the pursuit of an economic activity is governed by Community law, including relations between that national and his Member State of origin. Therefore, where a Member State may make this instrument subject to administrative authorisation on its territory, the authorisation procedure should only be used to verify that the title has been correctly awarded. One of the best-known cases in this field is Bosman (1995), in which the Court ruled on a request for a preliminary ruling from a Belgian court on the compatibility of the rules of football associations with the free movement of workers. Professional sport is an economic activity the exercise of which must not be hindered by rules limiting the transfer of players or limiting the number of players who are nationals of other Member States. This principle was extended in subsequent judgments to the situation of professional sportsmen and sportswomen from third countries who had concluded an association agreement (German Handball Federation, 2003) or a partnership agreement (Simutenkov, 2005) with the European Communities. No provision of EU law governs the subsequent continuation of that procedure. According to the preliminary ruling, the case may be withdrawn or settled amicably, with the result that no judgment is given on the substance of the case in the main proceedings. In fact, this is often due to sometimes very conclusive and case-specific preliminary rulings.3 Following the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon on 1 December 2009, the European Union now has legal personality and acquired competences previously transferred to the European Community. Community law thus became Union law, including all provisions previously adopted under the Treaty on European Union in its version in force before the Treaty of Lisbon.

In the following presentation, however, the term `Community law` is used to refer to the case-law of the Court of Justice prior to the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon. If it has been decided that a hearing will take place, the case will be heard in public before the panel of judges and the Advocate General. The Judges and the Advocate General may put to the parties any questions they consider appropriate. A few weeks later, the Advocate General delivered his Opinion before the Court, also in open court. It analyses in detail the legal aspects of the case and proposes to the Court of Justice in complete independence the answer it considers necessary to give to the problem raised. The oral procedure is closed. If it is decided that the case does not raise a new point of law, the Court, after hearing the Advocate General, may decide to give a decision without an Opinion. However, these criteria are not absolute. In Broekmeulen v Huisarts Registratie Commissie[7], the CJEU ruled that a body set up under the auspices of the Royal Medical Society for the Promotion of Medicine was a „court“ within the meaning of the Treaty, even if that society was a private association.

In this context, the Benelux Court of Justice has also been regarded as a court common to several Member States (Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg). The Unified Patent Court, as a court common to several Member States, may also be able to raise unfavourable questions. [Application for legal aid] Appointment of the rapporteur and the Advocate General The Court of Justice of the European Communities has jurisdiction to interpret the EU Treaties and all acts drawn up pursuant thereto, including legislative acts. It is for the courts of the Member States to obtain a reference for a preliminary ruling when the meaning or effect of European legislation is unclear. In family law, this means that any question of interpretation arising from EU family law provisions can be referred to the European Court of Justice for decision. Questions of interpretation arising from the following regulations may be submitted: The Court of Justice of the European Union shall have jurisdiction to give preliminary rulings on: Decision of the national court to make a request for a preliminary rulingTranslation into the other official languages of the European Union Publication of questions in the Official Journal of the EU (C series)Service on the parties to proceedings, the Member States, the institutions of the European Union, the EEA States and the EFTA Surveillance AuthorityWritten observations of the parties, the States and the institutions Reference is made to the European Union preliminary ruling 1 in Halsbury`s Laws of England However, that does not mean that the parties to the main proceedings, having given rise to the preliminary ruling, may legitimately ignore that decision until the referring court has given its ruling.

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