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References to the Court of Justice of the European Union in Family Proceedings

Date:17 MAY 2010

THE RT HON LORD JUSTICE THORPE Head of International Law for England and Wales and ELEANOR SHARPSTON Advocate General (CJEU)

The opportunity for references to the Court of Justice of the European Union CJEU was effectively created by the commencement of the wide ranging Brussels II Revised Regulation (also known as the ‘Brussels IIa' or ‘Brussels II bis' Regulation) which came into operation on 1 March 2005. As the law of the European Communities then stood a reference to the Court could only be made by a court of last resort against whose decisions there was no further recourse under national law (normally the Supreme Court of the Member State concerned).

Obviously the enlargement from 15 to 27 Member States increased the potential role of the Court in answering references for preliminary rulings. Another increase in the number of references is likely to come with the Lisbon Treaty which with effect from 1 December 2009 enabled final courts to refer where it is deemed necessary so to do. Furthermore it is safe to predict that the significance of...

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