acte clair

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[Law French: clear point]

A matter so obvious as not to need legal argument. In recent decades the concept of acte clair has become important in European law. Where a matter of European Community law arises before a domestic tribunal and there is doubt as to the interpretation of the law, the tribunal is bound by the Treaty of Rome to refer the matter under Article 234 to the European Court of Justice. However, where the domestic tribunal feels that the point in law is sufficiently well defined (for example, by previous case law before the European Court of Justice) they claim there is an acte clair and decline to submit the matter under Article 234 (R v Secretary of State, ex p Schering [1987] 1 CMLR 277).

Subjects: Law.

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