1. Where a question of community law is raised and the Crown Court or the Court of Appeal considers that a reference is necessary to enable it to give judgement, either Court may refer the point to the European Court of Justice (ECJ). The Criminal Procedure Rules 2012 set out the procedure for either Court to refer a matter to the ECJ for preliminary rulings under Article 234 (ex Article 177 EEC) of the EC Treaty 1.
2. Such references are rare. If any question of a reference being made is raised at Crown Court, Legal Adviser’s Office should be informed immediately.
3. The European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms ("ECHR") was incorporated into domestic law by the Human Rights Act 1998. Petitions to the European Court of Human Rights will not be accepted unless the petitioner has exhausted all his/her domestic remedies.