The preliminary reference to the Court of Justice by Constitutional Courts


Call for Papers


Seminar in memory of Gabriella Angiulli

organized by

the Centro di Studi sul Parlamento, LUISS Guido Carli of Rome, in co-operation with the Centro interdipartimentale di ricerca e formazione sul diritto pubblico europeo e comparato, University of Siena

28th & 29th March 2014

Venue: LUISS Guido Carli, Rome, Italy

Conveners: Maria Dicosola, Cristina Fasone, Irene Spigno

In an age of globalization of markets, policies and law, European integration is undergoing an extraordinary expansion. This process, far from involving only the harmonization of national legislation according to common principles, underpins the transformation of the nature of European constitutional systems. According to many distinguished scholars, in fact, a multilevel system of sources and courts is re-defining the boundaries of European Law, which now has an inherent constitutional dimension.

Within this framework, the phenomenon of the so-called ‘dialogue’ between domestic and European courts is particularly relevant. The ‘dialogue’ should be ‘taken seriously’ in so far as it is having a broad impact on the protection of the fundamental rights of individuals. Among the tools of cooperation between European Courts, the preliminary reference to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) by Constitutional Courts is crucial.

Indeed, Constitutional Courts are sui generis courts because of their procedures of appointment, composition and function; most of them in the EU Member States have been engaged in a direct – by means of the preliminary reference procedure, as the recent engagement of the French Conseil Constitutionnel (Decision n. 2013-314P QPC, 4th April 2013) and the Spanish Tribunal Constitutional (Order ATC 86/2011, 9th June 2011) show us – or indirect ‘dialogue’ with the Court in Luxembourg, such as the German Bundesverfassungsgericht (Decision n. BVerfGE 37, 271, 19th May 1974, and Decision n. 2 BvR 2661/06, 6th July 2010). The CJEU and the national Constitutional Courts often agree on the interpretation of EU Law and national (constitutional) law, but sometimes a clash in jurisprudence does appear, especially when it comes to balancing rights with the objectives of European integration (see the examples of the European Arrest Warrant, of the Data Retention Directive, and lastly of the enforcement of the Charter of Fundamental Rights in the EU, as in the Melloni case: Case C-399/11, 26th February 2013).

This issue was the topic of the PhD thesis chosen and assigned, in 2009, to Gabriella Angiulli, to whom the conference is dedicated. Gabriella Angiulli, who passed away in March 2013, was a PhD student at the University of Siena and a Teaching Assistant at LUISS Guido Carli, where she graduated with a dissertation in Comparative Public Law in 2008.

The scholars participating in the conference include Thomas Beukers (European University Institute), Francesco Cherubini (LUISS Guido Carli), Monica Claes (Maastricht University), Melina Decaro (LUISS Guido Carli), Tania Groppi (University of Siena), Nicola Lupo (LUISS Guido Carli), Giuseppe Martinico (Centro de studios políticos y constitucionales-Scuola superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa), Oreste Pollicino (Bocconi University), Robert Schütze (Durham Law School), who have already confirmed their presence.

On the first day of the conference, Friday 28th March, to be held entirely in English, the morning session will be devoted to an analysis of the relationship between Constitutional Courts of the Member States, the CJEU, and the European Court of Human Rights. The afternoon session will consist of a workshop of young scholars (PhD Students and Post-doctoral Researchers), based on the morning presentations. The second day of the conference, held in both Italian and English, on the morning of Saturday 29th March, will deal with the Italian Constitutional Court’s attitude towards the preliminary reference proceedings.

The organisers invite the submission of paper proposals on the case-law of one or several Constitutional Courts in the EU Member States issuing preliminary references, or on a specific decision, or set of decisions, of Constitutional Courts on a particular subject ‒ e.g. the constitutional identity of Member States ‒ raised by preliminary references and rulings. Abstracts on Constitutional Courts that have not yet issued a preliminary reference are also welcome, possibly describing the relevant case-law in which a request for preliminary reference has been raised and why the tool has not been used.

ABSTRACT SUBMISSION PROCEDURE: Those interested in presenting a paper on this topic, in particular PhD Students and Post-doctoral Researchers, are invited to submit an abstract (max. 500 words) and their CV by 22nd December 2013 at Applicants will be notified of the results of the selection process by 10th January 2014. The deadline for submitting papers at is 28th February 2014. Meals during the days of the conference and accommodation (one or two nights) will be provided for the paper givers.

Subject to a blind peer-review process, the papers submitted may be published in the LUISS School of Government Working Paper Series:

For additional information, please contact Maria Dicosola (, Cristina Fasone (, or Irene Spigno (