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Article 267 TFEU, critically consider whether the relationship between the CJEU and national courts created by the preliminary reference procedure is better considered as a bilateral, horizontal partnership of collaboration or one which is a multilateral, vertical, hierarchical relationship in which the CJEU takes precedence.

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Introduction Introduced as the “jewel in the Crown of the ECJ’s” jurisdiction, 1 the preliminary rulings procedure contained within article 267 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (‘TFEU’) amounts to a fundamental tool to the application of EU law in Member States. The aim of this essay is to critically assess the preliminary rulings / reference procedure conferred under article 267 of the TFEU and conclude whether the scope of the relationship confers excessive powers on the ECJ with particular consideration to how it has changed over time. It is concluded that it cannot be agreed with absolute completeness that the European judicial system has moved from a horizontal bilateral approach to the vertical and multilateral approach. However, a proper consideration demonstrates that the development of matters such as the doctrine of precedent have shifted the matter towards a more vertical and multilater