This chapter examines the system of preliminary references with a view to determining its effectiveness for the purposes of environmental lawsuits. Preliminary references on the interpretation of Community acts, in particular environmental law, are often brought in the context of actions against national authorities for lacking or incorrect implementation. Article 234 EC complements the infringement procedure of Article 226 EC in some respects. Preliminary references on the validity of Community acts, on the other hand, complement the Article 230 EC procedure. In the first situation, procedural and remedial rules are mostly governed by national law, whilst in the second case, when EC acts are challenged, Community law regulates the rules on procedures and remedies to a larger extent. Following a brief introduction of the features which the two procedures have in common, the chapter addresses issues of interpretation, validity and sanctions.
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