The Bucharest Court of Appeal has granted a request from the legal team of Țuca Zbârcea & Asociații for a second preliminary reference in the same national dispute, based on the need to clarify the lawfulness of a national monopoly in the light of primary European Union law.
In a case concerning the functioning of European electricity markets, i.e. the lawfulness of special and exclusive rights to manage these markets in one Member State, the Bucharest Court of Appeal issued a first preliminary reference in 2021. The Court of Justice of the European Union delivered its ruling in the spring of 2023, and then the case was reopened by the Bucharest court.
Subsequently, the lawyers of Țuca Zbârcea & Asociații requested a further preliminary reference to the Court of Justice of the EU, in view of investigating the conformity of national legislation with the provisions of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and in light of additional facts relevant to the Court. This request for a second preliminary reference was granted by the Bucharest Court of Appeal, which accepted the 3 new proposed preliminary questions and ordered a further preliminary reference to the Court of Justice of the EU.
Plaintiff’s legal strategy and representation were coordinated by a team of lawyers from Țuca Zbârcea & Asociații specialising in administrative claims, led by Dan Cristea, Partner, and including Șerban Sârbu, Associate. The legal team also had the support of Andrei Georgescu, Partner at 360Competition.
"A second preliminary reference, i.e. the submission of a subsequent preliminary reference in the same case - is a rather rare procedure in the dialogue between national courts and the Court of Justice of the EU, with very little precedent for Romania. We are all the more pleased with the decision of the Bucharest Court of Appeal to opt for this legal instrument, especially as the decision is strongly justified by the factual circumstances of the case, but also by the fact that the ultimate interpret of the Treaties is always the Court of Justice of the EU, and not the national court. Our Administrative Disputes team is currently in charge of two different preliminary reference proceedings before the Court of Justice of the European Union, one in Public Procurement, the other in Energy, and we are confident about using this legal instrument when the complexity of the case and the legitimate rights of our clients so require", said Dan Cristea, Partner at Țuca Zbârcea & Asociații.