Focus – CILFIT revisited

Consorzio Italian Management II

(Case C-561/19)

“In contrast to national courts of last instance, I suspect that students of EU law have always rather liked the judgment in CILFIT and Others. In the course of the last decade or two, the hearts of many EU law students were likely to pound with a sudden flush of joy and relief upon seeing ‘CILFIT’, ‘exceptions to the duty to refer’, and ‘discuss’ on their exam paper or essay assignment. Indeed, questioning the feasibility of the CILFIT exceptions to the duty to make a reference for a preliminary ruling, particularly the exception relating to the absence of any reasonable doubt on the part of the national court of last instance, is perhaps not the most demanding argumentative exercise. Are those courts really required to compare (all) the equally authentic language versions of EU law? How are they, in practical terms, supposed to determine whether the matter is equally obvious to the courts of other Member States and to the Court of Justice?” (AG Bobek, Opinion, 15 April 2021, Case C‑561/19, para 1, footnotes omitted)

Seven eminent contributors share their analysis of this case.