Reference to the European Court of Justice—observations, preliminary rulings and urgent applications
Reference to the European Court of Justice—observations, preliminary rulings and urgent applications

The following Dispute Resolution guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Reference to the European Court of Justice—observations, preliminary rulings and urgent applications
  • Definitions and rules
  • Clarification of the reference
  • Observations
  • Preliminary ruling—general
  • Preliminary ruling—interpretation
  • Urgent/expedited applications—when can they occur?
  • Who decides to expedite?

The UK has voted to leave the EU and this will take place on exit day as defined in section 20 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018. This has implications for practitioners seeking a ruling of the Court of Justice. This Practice Note considers the current position.

The Civil Procedure Rules 1998 (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019, SI 2019/521, which will come into force on exit day, provide that Part 68 is to be deleted in its entirety as it makes provision for the UK courts to make a reference to the Court of Justice and such references will no longer be available after exit day. For information about the changes, including transitional and savings provisions, as well as related practice direction changes set out in the 107th practice direction update, see Practice Note: Brexit—CPR changes—Part 68—References to the European Court.

For an insight into the impact of Brexit, see News Analysis: Preliminary references from the UK—practice, procedure and impact of Brexit.

For information on the role of the Court of Justice after exit day, see Practice Note: Brexit—considerations for dispute resolution practitioners—Court of Justice.

Definitions and rules

The CPR provisions for dealing with a reference to the Court of Justice are set out in CPR 68 and associated practice direction, CPR PD 68. The rules were last updated on 6 April 2017—changes to Part