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283/81 CILFIT

[1982] ECR 3415

Case summary last updated at 13/02/2020 19:55 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case 283/81 CILFIT

The plaintiff to a case urged the Italian court (against whom there was no judicial remedy) not to refer a matter to the ECJ because the answer was so obvious. Italian court said this itself was a question of EC law (namely whether art 234 includes an ‘acte clair’ doctrine). ECJ said that although courts of final instance were obliged to refer a question of EC law to ECJ, interpretations themselves have authority (i.e. if the question has already been answered then there is no need to ask exactly the same question again- following Da Costa). Furthermore, the court may refrain from referring a question if the answer is ‘so obvious as to leave no scope for any reasonable doubt’ and the national court considers that the ‘matter is equally obvious to the courts of other MSs and the the Court of Justice’. However, to find this conclusion, the answer must be equally clear taking into account the different language versions of the Treaties/Legislation; that legal concepts have different meanings in different states; and that legislation must be looked at in light of the objectives and evolution of community law. There must be no scope for reasonable doubt. 

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