Oral Hearings in Preliminary References Coming from Italian Judges, from Lisbon to today

Le udienze dibattimentali nei pregiudiziali italiani, da Lisbona ad oggi

Les audiences devant la Cour de justice dans le cadre des procédures préjudicielles italiennes, de Lisbonne à aujourd’hui



Abstract ENG | ITA | FRA

Since 1 November 2012, proceedings before the Court of Justice may also not have an oral part, as the Court enjoys a very wide discretion in deciding whether or not to hold a hearing. This article assesses, also in quantitative terms, how the Court has exercised this discretion, analysing the preliminary ruling requested by Italian Courts from the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty until now and comparing those datas with that of the preliminary rulings from other Member States. The research shows that, at least in the microcosm of Italian preliminary rulings and contrary to the data discussed in the legal debates so far, a hearing is granted to the parties in only 31% of cases, essentially when the Italian government has also intervened, and that the lack of a hearing does not lead to a shortening of the total duration of the proceedings. Against this framework, the article discusses whether and to what extent such a restrictive approach is compatible with the rights of the parties, proposes solutions for amending this trend and for ensuring a better monitoring of the existing practice.