• C-573/17 Daniel Adam Poplawski concerned European arrest warrants, the European Court’s view on the relationship between direct effect and supremacy of EU law, and the importance of interpreting EU law and its precedence. 

Facts of the Case 

  • Daniel Adam Poplawski was sentenced to a 1 year suspended prison sentence by a Polish court 
  • The Polish court ordered the enforcement of this, issuing a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) 
  • Poplawski was considered a resident in the Netherlands, the Dutch court raised issues with the compatibility of the EAW with Dutch law where, in such context, would deny Poplawski’s surrender to Poland  
  • The Dutch court then had their authorities inform Poland’s authorities that they will be willing to take over the enforcement  

Issues 

  • Were the Dutch authorities allowed to take over the proceedings? 
  • Would the Dutch legislation be followed, or the EAW Framework, and what of the compatibility? 

Held by the European Court of Justice 

  • EU law is primary over national law, and national courts have a duty to give full effect to their provisions. The Dutch Court would be able to use the EAW as a foundation to apply Dutch law upon the sentencing that they would take over. 

Findings of the Court  

Union law’s priority over national law was reiterated by the CJEU and what is done in cases of interpreting EU law 

  • “where it is unable to interpret national law in compliance with the requirements of EU law, the national court which is called upon within the exercise of its jurisdiction to apply provisions of EU law is under a duty to give full effect to those provisions, if necessary refusing of its own motion to apply any conflicting provision of national legislation, even if adopted subsequently, and it is not necessary for that court to request or await the prior setting aside of such provision by legislative or other constitutional means” [58] 
  • “the Court has already held that the obligation to interpret domestic law in conformity with EU law requires national courts to change established case-law, where necessary, if it is based on an interpretation of domestic law that is incompatible with the objectives of a framework decision and to disapply, on their own authority, the interpretation adopted by a higher court which it must follow in accordance with its national law, if that interpretation is not compatible with the framework decision concerned” [78] 
  • “The principle of the primacy of EU law must be interpreted as meaning that it does not require a national court to disapply a provision of national law which is incompatible with the provisions of a framework decision … authorities of the Member States, including the courts, are nevertheless required to interpret their national law, to the greatest extent possible, in conformity with EU law, which enables them to ensure an outcome that is compatible with the objective pursued by the framework decision concerned” [110] 

Concerning EU law with direct effect, the court said that  

  • “any national court, hearing a case within its jurisdiction, has, as an organ of a Member State, the obligation to disapply any provision of national law which is contrary to a provision of EU law with direct effect in the case pending before it” 

However, the court also confirmed provisions of Union law without direct effect  

  • “may not be relied on, as such, in a dispute coming under EU law in order to disapply a provision of national law that conflicts with it.” [62] 

Editorial comment  

  • This case was fundamental as it made the Court of Justice of the European Union re-establish the importance of EU law, and how it influences national law and their decisions.