Court of Justice of the European Union
The Court of Justice of the European Union is tasked with ensuring that its institutions and Member States comply with the regulations laid down in the Treaties.
The task of the Court of Justice is primarily divided into three parts. Firstly, it is responsible for ensuring the legality of the Union acts that the institutions, bodies and agencies of the European Union adopt. Secondly, it ensures that the Member States fulfil their obligations under the Treaties. Thirdly, the Court of Justice delivers ‘preliminary rulings’. The reference for a preliminary ruling is a procedure exercised by national courts before the Court of Justice to obtain clarification on the interpretation of a certain legal act to determine whether the national legislation is compatible with EU law.
The Court of Justice has contributed to strengthening the protection of fundamental rights by establishing that they are an integral part of the general legal principles of the European Union. The protection includes the common constitutional traditions of the Member States and the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights, which Member States have helped formulate or to which they have acceded. Following the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, the Court of Justice may also apply and interpret the European Union Charter on Fundamental Rights, which is to have the same legal status as the Treaties.