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"Preliminary reference" refers to the European Court of Justice's jurisdiction to answer questions of Community law. A member state court can refer a question to the ECJ as a preliminary reference if it concerns:

  1. the interpretation of the Treaty Establishing the European Community
  2. the interpretation of acts of Community institutions
  3. the interpretation of Community statutes
The procedure was laid out in Article 177 of the EC Treaty (now Article 234 EC).

Some court cases pertaining to preliminary reference:

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