Why the system of preliminary rulings in Article 267 TFEU is, and continues to be, important for the development of a coherent EU legal system and the liberalization of the procedure. The system of preliminary rulings provides the European Court of Justice (ECJ) an opportunity to assume an advisory role for other member states. The functioning of the ECJ is described under Article 19 of the Treaty of European Union (TEU) which states that the court must ensure correct interpretation and application of treaty law among member states as well as provide remedies for cases where there is no remedy available under national law, to ensure effective legal protection is provided by European Union (EU) to all its citizens.
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Treaties and acts are binding agreements created between EU member countries to describe the objectives, rules and relationship aspired to be formed between the members of the union having the ultimate intention of protecting the dignity, freedom, equality and respect for human rights for all citizens of the union as stated in Article 2 of the TEU. Coherent application of EU law throughout the union is a joint responsibility shared between the ECJ and the national courts. To ensure that member states apply EU law in a uniform manner Article 267 of the European Union Functioning Treaty (TFEU) plays an important role by developing community law which is applied by national courts based on its consultation with ECJ. This procedure is important because it creates a two way system allowing individuals subjected to European Union law to challenge the application of union law upon them in national courts. It also makes it possible for constant review of the validity and correct application of EU laws by ECJ. At the crux of the reference procedure lies the important principle that it is the national court which finally decides whether to refer to ECJ. However when there is no further judicial remedy for the individual to avail at national level and the dispute arises from incoherent application of EU law, it is a must for the case to be referred to ECJ for direction as stated in Article 267(3) of TFEU. This creates a vertical relationship between national courts and ECJ. At the same time the rulings provided to one member state is applied coherently to other members in a horizontal and multilateral manner. However there has been laxity in the application of Article 267 due to the increasing number of cases that has been referred to ECJ and the increasing number of countries that have become members of the EU. This has created delay in the functioning of the European court which is feared will create a miscarriage of justice. It follows from the judgement in the C-246/80 Broekmeulen v Huisarts Registratie Commissie (1981) ECR 2311 case that the obligation to refer under Article 234 (3) is not an absolute one.
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