THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE PRELIMINARY RULING AND A FAIR TRIAL -
The European human rights architecture is considered one of the most relevant regional human rights systems. In this context, the Council of Europe and the European Union play crucial roles. All the EU member states happen to be members of the Council and Europe as well as Contracting Parties to its most remarkable treaty, the European Convention on Human Rights (hereinafter: ECHR). This paper attempts to examine an issue arising from the two most significant tools of the two regimes, on the EU side that would be the preliminary ruling procedure and on the ECHR side, the right to a fair trial. The analyzed issue is whether the refusal by the national court to submit a preliminary ruling request as initiated by the party in national proceedings can lead to violation of Article 6 of the ECHR. As concluded in the paper and supported by the relevant case law, a party’s submission before a domestic court that is a member of the EU and a Contracting Party to ECHR, might embody the violation of Article 6 if the court of last instance rejects the reference of parties to initiate a preliminary ruling procedure without giving reasons for it. However, similarly to the relationship between the EU legal order and ECHR, the analysed issue also has many open concerns.
Keywords: preliminary ruling, fair trial, Article 6, case law, European human rights architecture.