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European courts

This content applies to England & Wales

The way the European courts operate.

There are two European courts: the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg and the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg (ECtHR).

European Court of Justice

The ECJ is the Court of the European Union and can make rulings in certain areas of law that are binding on the courts of Member States. There are mechanisms for courts in England and Wales to refer points of law to the European Court of Justice.

European Court of Human Rights

The ECtHR applies the European Convention on Human Rights and can make rulings against European governments. The decisions of the European Court of Human Rights are important in the interpretation of the Convention by courts in England and Wales.

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