European court should clarify Article 50 (re. brexit) CJEU REPLY

MM mm at
Thu Nov 17 17:27:55 GMT 2016

Court of Justice of the European Union,
Communication Directorate

Dear ....,

Thank you for your email.

Individual citizens may only bring a direct action before the Court of 
Justice of the European Union in circumstances where their legal 
interests have been directly affected by a decision or action of a 
European Union institution (i.e. the Commission, Parliament, Council 
etc.). Individual citizens cannot bring a case before the Court seeking 
clarification on how a provision of EU law should be interpreted. This 
is because national courts are competent to interpret and apply EU law 
at national level. However, if a national court is unsure how EU law 
should be interpreted in a particular case then it can make a reference 
to the Court of Justice for clarification.

In the example you provide, if a national court has a question regarding 
the interpretation of Article 50 TEU and the national court considers it 
necessary to have an answer to that question in order to enable it to 
give judgment in a national case before it, then it can ask the Court of 
Justice to give a ruling on that question (i.e. the national court can 
ask the CJEU how Article 50 should be interpreted). However, if the 
national court considers that there is no ambiguity, or if it considers 
that it is not necessary to clarify how the provision of EU law should 
be interpreted in order for it to be able to give judgment, then it may 
choose not to make such a reference.

This is the distinction between the "common types of cases" that you 
identify on the EUROPA website. Cases concerning how EU law should be 
interpreted are referred by national courts, not by individual citizens. 
Cases brought by individuals concern the action/inaction of European 
Union Institutions, not Member States, where those actions directly 
affect the individual citizen/company bringing the case. Further detail 
can be found on the Court's own website -

I hope the above clarifies the situation, but please feel free to 
contact me on the number below if you require any further information.

Kind regards

Communication Directorate
Court of Justice of the European Union

OPINION circulated ca. 14 November 2016 by I&Rgb (web site: )

European court should clarify Article 50 (re. brexit). This matter 
differs from the recent case brought to the UK high court by Ms. Miller 
and others.

If you agree that Article 50 of the european treaty TEU should be 
formally clarified then please re-tweet the following and spread the 

TWEET 14 Nov 2016
Confusion in UK re Article50 TEU paralyses gov+parl. EU court must 
clarify law. Can application to leave EU be withdrawn? #Art50Lux SPREAD


Citizen UK/EU (name supplied)

Court of Justice and General Court
European Union

Press and Information department
e-mail: presseinfo-en at

I telephoned the CJEU today and was connected with "Press and 
Information". I expressed an interest to bring a case to the EU court as 
an individual or group of private citizens.

Our concern is to obtain formal judicial clarification of Article 50 
TEU, importantly the question of whether once Article 50 has been evoked 
can the "application" to leave the EU be withdrawn?

Your press officer told me that an individual cannot bring a question 
like this to the EU court.

At the CJEU web site I had read apparently contradictory information, as 
pasted here:

"The CJEU and you
If you – as a private individual or as a company – have suffered damage 
as a result of action or inaction by an EU institution or its staff, you 
can take action against them in the Court, in one of 2 ways:

indirectly through national courts (which may decide to refer the case 
to the Court of Justice)

directly before the General Court – if a decision by an EU institution 
has affected you directly and individually."


Please clarify. Why can we not bring our case to the General Court ?

Citizen UK/EU

More information about the Diggers350 mailing list