An Analysis of Trends and Patterns in the Irish Courts of Practice and Procedure in 30 Years of Article 234 Preliminary References
Irish Journal of European Law, 5-33, 12 (2004)
38 Pages Posted: 16 Oct 2012
Date Written: 2004
In the 30 years of membership of the EU, the preliminary reference mechanism provided for in Article 234 EC, has performed a tremendous function in European legal integration. The Irish experience of European legal integration has been particularly remarkable. While the total number of preliminary references from the Irish courts at 44 is comparably the lowest in all of the EU, with the exception of certain states that recently joined the 1995 wave of accessions, the total number of preliminary references must not be seen as the measure of all things, being merely numerical. Although each preliminary reference is not considered individually here, this article seeks to highlight how over the past 30 years, on a decade-by-decade analysis, certain areas of law appear to generate references, whilst others do not. Furthermore, the article demonstrates how, despite the fact that more and more areas of law are coming under Community regulation, the number of references overall made by the superior courts (i.e., the High and Supreme Courts) remains static of late, and indeed the rate of referral of references from some courts appears to be in decline. Moreover, this article demonstrates, inter alia, that in general EC law arises only infrequently in Irish courts, and the rate of refusals of preliminary reference applications appears to be significant.
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