The Legacy of Advocate General Jacobs at the European Court of Justice
Edited by Philip Moser and Katrine Sawyer
Chapter 4: Links with National Courts
4. Links with national courts Sir John Mummery1 THEME ‘Links’ normally conjure up the image of a golf course on sandy dunes close to the estuaries and the incoming tides, which, for Lord Denning, were metaphors of the relationship of English law with the European Community law.2 The Oxford English Dictionary offers other examples of English usage and what better than ‘links’ to describe ‘the divisions in a string of sausages or black puddings’? The links of the European Community with national courts are not of the sausage or black pudding sort. In essence the links are informal and formal channels of communication serving the common purpose of constructive and structured judicial conversation and co-operation between national courts and the European Court of Justice. The shared goal is making sense of this uniquely ambitious legal order and, above all, making it work. National courts decide cases. When it is necessary to do so, they ask the Court of Justice to supply them with authoritative rulings on the interpretation of Community law for them to use in deciding cases in their own legal systems.3 The realistic aim is not perfection, which is impossible, but an acceptable level of uniformity in the interpretation of Community law and its local application and enforcement by the national courts in Member States. INFORMAL LINKS My experience of informal and formal links with the European Court of Justice spans the last 25 years, first as a barrister, then as a first instance judge and for the...
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