The following Dispute Resolution guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:
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The Court of Justice of the European Communities (European Court) can give a preliminary ruling on the law of the European Union, the validity of acts of the institutions of the Community and the validity of acts of secondary legislation by which Member States implement Community law. The European Court's role is to interpret Community law or to rule on its validity, not to apply the law to the facts underlying the main proceedings. A request for guidance is known as a preliminary reference, or reference; the answer is known as a preliminary ruling.
An order for a reference to the European Court can be made at any stage of proceedings. It is however desirable to seek a preliminary ruling when proceedings are at a stage at which the court is able to define the factual and legal context of the question being referred.
In order to make a reference to the European Court a party must obtain an order from the English court. The application is made under CPR 23. There is no guidance in CPR 23 or
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