Volume 44 (2007) / Issue 2
The Court of Justice has jurisdiction under Articles 242 EC and 243 EC to entertain in interlocutory proceedings, first, applications for suspension of the operation of an act challenged by means of an action brought before it and, second, applications for other interim measures. The purpose of the procedure for interim relief is to guarantee the full effectiveness of the definitive future decision, in order to ensure that there is no lacuna in the legal protection provided by the Court of Justice. This article examines the recent trends in the case law of both Community courts. The three conditions for granting interim relief (a prima facie case, urgency, and the balance of interests) are examined in turn, as well as other questions of substance and procedure. The case law shows a constant tension between the principle of effective judicial protection and the limitations on the powers of the judge which derive from his/her constitutional role and the need to stay within the limits of the case and not to render meaningless the main case. One of the main transformations since the end of the 1980s is that the presentation has become more standardized and the orders generally contain more detailed reasoning. Although, the introduction of expedited procedures has reduced the need for interim proceedings in certain cases, this has had a limited quantitative effect on the number of requests for interim relief. In general, obtaining interim relief is a very difficult task for private applicants and Member States.
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