When civil proceedings give rise to a question of law that involves many different rights of action based on the same or similar facts, or the resolution of numerous other disputes arising from similar facts, a court may refer it to the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court then answers that question by issuing a preliminary ruling. The lower court can then issue a judgment on the matter in question, taking the Supreme Court’s ruling into account. That preliminary ruling also serves as a guideline for similar cases involving the same legal question.
Reference for a preliminary ruling
A court may decide, on its own initiative or at the parties’ request, to refer a question to the Supreme Court for a preliminary ruling. However, that court must first give the parties the opportunity to comment on the intention to refer questions to the Supreme Court for a preliminary ruling. The parties will also be given the opportunity to comment on the substance and scope of those questions.
The court then issues an interim decision in which it presents the positions taken by the parties, also setting out the questions to be referred, the subject matter of the dispute and the facts established by that court. The court then stays the case until it has obtained the Supreme Court’s preliminary ruling.