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European Court (Interpretation Procedure)

Volume 893: debated on Monday 9 June 1975

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asked the Attorney-General whether he is satisfied with the procedure under which United Kingdom courts of justice may request the European Court to rule on points of interpretation.

Is not the Attorney-General gravely concerned that there are now serious areas of uncertainty in our law in relation to Common Market law, as instanced by that distinguished authority Lord Diplock in his remarks to a Select Committee? Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman and his colleagues encourage our courts to increase their reference to the European Court to help remove the area of uncertainty?

It is a matter of discretion for the courts in the majority of cases—though there is an obligation in some cases—whether they refer to the European Court a matter which raises a point of Community law. It is not for me to urge them or to press them to do so. I have no doubt that where necessary they will continue to do so.

Has the right hon. and learned Gentleman yet given consideration to the judgment of the European Court of Justice on the second question referred to it by the Chancery Division of the High Court, in the case of van Duyn v. the Home Office, to the effect that directives made under Article 189 can be directly applicable in member States in the case of individual rights? Do Her Majesty's Government propose to make recommendations to the Commission in regard to the formulation of directives following that important judgment?

That is not a matter for me, but I shall see that my colleagues are made aware of the right hon. and learned Gentleman's remarks.