The limits of the court of justice of the european union's jurisdiction to answer preliminary references

Author:Iuliana-M?d?lina Larion
Position:Judge at the Bucharest County Court and PhD candidate at the Faculty of Law, 'Nicolae Titulescu' University, Bucharest (e-mail: madalinalarion@gmail.com).
Pages:101-110
LESIJ NO. XXIII, VOL. 1/2016
THE LIMITS OF THE COURT OF JUSTICE OF THE EUROPEAN
UNION’S JURISDICTION TO ANSWER PRELIMINARY
REFERENCES
Iuliana-Mdlina LARION
Abstract
Starting from a concise analysis of the Court of Justice’s jurisdiction in the matter of preliminary
references ra tione materiae, r atione persona e, ratione loci a nd ratione temporis, the study intends to
highlight what preliminar y questions this interna tional court can a nd cannot answer and haw far ca n
its rulings rea ch into the national law of the member states of the Europea n Union.
Keywords: ar ticle 267 of the Treaty on th e Functioning of the Euro pean Union, preliminar y
question/reference, preliminar y ruling/judgment, court of a member state, jur isdiction limits.
1. Introductory notes
The jurisdiction of the Court of Justice
of the European Union
1
is established,
mainly, by article 19 of the Treaty on the
European Union (TEU), by articles 256,
258-277 of the Treaty on the Functioning of
the European Union (TFEU) and by its
Statute
2
. The European Court can only ac t
within the limits of the competence
conferred upon it by the member states in the
treaties establishing the European Union.
The Treaties provide two main roles
for the Court of Justice of the Europ ean
Union: an advisory one, to render oppinions
and a jurisdictional one, to give preliminary
rulings and judgments in d irect actions.
Whereas the preliminary ruling procedure is
a noncontencious one
3
, direct actions, such
Judge at the Bucharest County Court and PhD candidate at the Faculty of Law, “Nicolae Titulescu” University,
Bucharest (e-mail: madalinalarion@gmail.com).
1
The Court of Justice of the European Union is a system composed of three courts: the Court of Justice (the
former Court of Justice of the European Communities), the General Court and the Civil Service Tribunal.
2
Protocol no. 3 to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
3
See Şandru, Banu and Clin, Procedura., 19-20.
4
For more information about direct actions, see Fábián 2010, 358-407.
5
See Craig and de Búrca, 2011, EU Law …, 477-478, Chalmers, Davies and Monti, 2010, 143-149.
as annulment actions, actions regarding
EU’s institutions failure to act, EU’s non-
contractual liability or staff cases
4
, undergo
a contentious procedure.
These competences are divided
between the Court of Justice, the General
Court and the Civil Service Tribunal
5
.
At present, in spite of the fact that
article 256 paragraph 3 of Treaty on the
Functioning of the European Union renders
jurisdiction to the General Court to hear and
determine questions re ferred for a
preliminary ruling, in specific areas laid
down by the Statute, only the Co urt of
Justice can answer preliminary questions,
since its Statute has not yet been modified in
this respect. Article 3 of the Regulation (EU,
Euratom) of the European Parliament and of
the Council of 16 December 2015 amending
Protocol No 3 on the Statute of the Court of

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