Much depends both on the Court of Justice knowing when to accept and when to decline references and on national courts knowing how to refer and when to refer” (Ward) Consider the operation of Article 267 TFEU in the light of this statement
Why is the issue of PR important? 1. The coming into force of the Lisbon Treaty (TFEU)3 as from 1 December 2009 means that the PR procedure is now available to national courts and tribunals at all levels. It is no longer subject to the Article 68(1)4 limitations introduced by Title IV of the EC Treaty. 2. Previously, access to making a PR regarding Title IV of the EC Treaty was regulated by Art 68, which modified Art 234 so references could only be made by national courts “against whose decision there is no judicial remedy under national law”. Title IV was a third pillar (justice and home affairs). However, there was a great deal of criticism of this limitation, there being a particular worry that it fragmented the PR scheme, was detrimental to the rule of law and could lead to a vital area of EU law being left outside proper ECJ/CJEU supervision5. Now, however, the pillar system has been abolished and the reference procedure is open to all courts and tribunals. 3. The preliminary rulings of the CJEU are increasingly becoming the governing case law on EU asylum law for all national courts. A decision of the CJEU has a precedential impact on all national courts within the Union6. It is only by participating in the reference system (in one way or another) that national courts can influence the overall case law. Rationale of PR procedure? 4. A PR is a request from a national court or tribunal of a Member State to the CJECU to give an authoritative interpretation on a Community/Union act or a decision on the validity of such an act.