Essay on Roles of the European Court of Justice

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Roles of the European Court of Justice ‘The European Court of Justice played a decisive role in the transformation of the European legal system by declaring the direct effect and supremacy of European Law. But the linchpins of the European legal system are the national courts of the member states. National court references provide the ECJ with opportunities to expand the reach and scope of EC law, opportunities that would not exist if the ECJ had to rely on member states or the Commission to raise infringement …show more content…
Under this procedure any of the member states courts may request that the Court of Justice provide a ruling on a question of interpretation as regards to the Treaties or may perhaps even question the interpretation or validity of other Community institutions. Questions of this type often arise because of the doctrine of direct effect and direct applicability of Community law. The role of the Court of Justice under the preliminary ruling procedure is to rule on the point of European Community law only and because of this it does not decide the actual outcome of the case brought before it. This task remains the duty of the national court which initially referred the question before the Court of Justice under Article 234. J Steiner and L Woods[1] suggest that:

“…the Court is only empowered to give rulings on matters of Community law. It has no jurisdiction to interpret domestic law or pass judgement on the compatibility of domestic law with E.C law”

This Article provides that a reference is requisite from a court ‘against whose decision there is no judicial remedy under national law’[2]. Within the UK, the House of Lords is such a court as there are no grounds for appeal after this court.

Article 234 has been central for the growth of Community law and as a result of references through this particular channel; the Court of Justice has
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