Refusal to refer for a preliminary ruling and a right to a fair trial: Strasbourg court’s position

Agne Limante (MA, PhD) is a Research Fellow at the Law Institute of Lithuania.

The duty of last instance national courts to submit preliminary references to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) is analysed by academics almost exclusively in the light of the Luxembourg Court’s case law. However, the case law of European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) also appears to be relevant in this context. In several instances the ECtHR was asked whether non-referral of preliminary questions to the CJEU constituted a breach of Article 6 ECHR, guaranteeing the right to a fair trial.[1] This post aims at providing some reference in this regard. First, it briefly describes the rules governing the preliminary reference procedure. Then, it analyses the ECtHR’s judgements relevant to this subject. Some conclusions will follow.

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