FAQ – COUR DE JUSTICE DE L’UNION EUROPÉENNE
The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) is the adjudicative body of the European Union. It has jurisdiction to rule on the interpretation of EU law, and on the validity of Community standards. Matters can be referred to it by national courts by way of a preliminary question.
In the course of proceedings pending before a French court, a party may, under certain conditions, request referral to the Court of Justice of the European Union of a preliminary question concerning the interpretation of an EU rule of law.
The lower courts – administrative or judicial – are free to assess the advisability of referral to the Court of Justice.
The Conseil d’Etat and the Court of cassation, on the other hand, must refer a preliminary question, provided however that the text to be interpreted is unclear and therefore requires the unifying interpretation of the Court of Justice.
Thouin-Palat et Boucard regularly asks the Conseil d’Etat and the Court of cassation for referral of questions concerning the interpretation of EU legal texts.
When these requests are granted, the firm intervenes and represents its clients before the Court of Justice.
In principle, the European Commission itself handles situations liable to involve a violation of EU law.
However, it is possible to draw its attention to such a violation by a complaint which the firm can draft and address to the European Commission.
The Commission decides at its discretion on the further action to be taken; however, many automatic referrals to it originate from a complaint.
When the Commission considers the matter, it issues a decision which is subject to appeal before the Court of First Instance of the European Union, whose decision is also subject to appeal before the European Court of Justice.