Language of document : ECLI:EU:C:2017:366

OPINION OF ADVOCATE GENERAL

WAHL

delivered on 11 May 2017 (1)

Case C278/16

Criminal proceedings against Frank Sleutjes,

Other party:

Staatsanwaltschaft Aachen

(Request for a preliminary ruling from the Landgericht Aachen (Regional Court, Aachen, Germany))

(Area of freedom, security and justice — Directive 2010/64/EU — Article 3 — Right to interpretation and to translation in criminal proceedings — Concept of ‘essential document’ — Penal order (Strafbefehl))







1.        The right to interpretation and translation in criminal proceedings across the European Union guaranteed by Directive 2010/64/EU (2) is a key milestone on the path to strengthening the procedural rights of persons who are suspected or accused of having committed a criminal offence, as intended by the Stockholm Programme of the European Council. (3) As the Council of the European Union has made clear, ‘the suspected or accused person must be able to understand what is happening and to make him/herself understood. A suspected or accused person who does not speak or understand the language that is used in the proceedings will need an interpreter and translation of essential procedural documents’. (4) It is against that backdrop that the present request for a preliminary ruling will allow the Court to solidify its case-law under Directive 2010/64. (5)

2.        In the main proceedings, the Landgericht Aachen (Regional Court, Aachen, Germany) essentially asks the Court whether a Strafbefehl (penal order) is to be classified as an ‘essential document’ in criminal proceedings which, pursuant to Article 3 of Directive 2010/64, must be translated if the person to whom it is addressed does not understand German.

3.        For the reasons which follow, I propose that the Court answer the question referred in the affirmative.

I.      Legal framework

A.      Directive 2010/64

4.        Recitals 14, 16 and 30 of Directive 2010/64 state:

‘(14)      The right to interpretation and translation for those who do not speak or understand the language of the proceedings is enshrined in Article 6 of the [European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, signed in Rome on 4 November 1950; the ‘ECHR’], as interpreted in the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights. This Directive facilitates the application of that right in practice. To that end, the aim of this Directive is to ensure the right of suspected or accused persons to interpretation and translation in criminal proceedings with a view to ensuring their right to a fair trial.

(16)      In some Member States an authority other than a court having jurisdiction in criminal matters has competence for imposing sanctions in relation to relatively minor offences. That may be the case, for example, in relation to traffic offences which are committed on a large scale and which might be established following a traffic control. In such situations, it would be unreasonable to require that the competent authority ensure all the rights under this Directive. Where the law of a Member State provides for the imposition of a sanction regarding minor offences by such an authority and there is a right of appeal to a court having jurisdiction in criminal matters, this Directive should therefore apply only to the proceedings before that court following such an appeal.

(30)      Safeguarding the fairness of the proceedings requires that essential documents, or at least the relevant passages of such documents, be translated for the benefit of suspected or accused persons in accordance with this Directive. Certain documents should always be considered essential for that purpose and should therefore be translated, such as any decision depriving a person of his liberty, any charge or indictment, and any judgment. It is for the competent authorities of the Member States to decide, on their own motion or upon a request of suspected or accused persons or of their legal counsel, which other documents are essential to safeguard the fairness of the proceedings and should therefore be translated as well.’

5.        Article 1(1) to (3) of Directive 2010/64 (‘Subject matter and scope’) provides:

‘1.      This Directive lays down rules concerning the right to interpretation and translation in criminal proceedings …

2.      The right referred to in paragraph 1 shall apply to persons from the time that they are made aware by the competent authorities of a Member State, by official notification or otherwise, that they are suspected or accused of having committed a criminal offence until the conclusion of the proceedings, which is understood to mean the final determination of the question whether they have committed the offence, including, where applicable, sentencing and the resolution of any appeal.

3.      Where the law of a Member State provides for the imposition of a sanction regarding minor offences by an authority other than a court having jurisdiction in criminal matters, and the imposition of such a sanction may be appealed to such a court, this Directive shall apply only to the proceedings before that court following such an appeal.’

6.        Under Article 3 of Directive 2010/64 (‘Right to translation of essential documents’):

‘1.      Member States shall ensure that suspected or accused persons who do not understand the language of the criminal proceedings concerned are, within a reasonable period of time, provided with a written translation of all documents which are essential to ensure that they are able to exercise their right of defence and to safeguard the fairness of the proceedings.

2.      Essential documents shall include any decision depriving a person of his liberty, any charge or indictment, and any judgment.

3.      The competent authorities shall, in any given case, decide whether any other document is essential. Suspected or accused persons or their legal counsel may submit a reasoned request to that effect.

4.      There shall be no requirement to translate passages of essential documents which are not relevant for the purposes of enabling suspected or accused persons to have knowledge of the case against them.

5.      Member States shall ensure that, in accordance with procedures in national law, suspected or accused persons have the right to challenge a decision finding that there is no need for the translation of documents or passages thereof and, when a translation has been provided, the possibility to complain that the quality of the translation is not sufficient to safeguard the fairness of the proceedings.

9.      Translation provided under this Article shall be of a quality sufficient to safeguard the fairness of the proceedings, in particular by ensuring that suspected or accused persons have knowledge of the case against them and are able to exercise their right of defence.’

B.      German law

7.        Paragraph 184 of the Gerichtsverfassungsgesetz (Law on the judicial system, the ‘GVG’) states, inter alia, that the language of the courts is German.

8.        Paragraph 187 of the GVG, as amended as a result of the implementation of Directives 2010/64 and 2012/13/EU, (6) states:

‘1.      The court shall provide an accused or convicted person who does not have a command of German or who is hearing impaired or speech impaired with an interpreter or a translator in so far as that is necessary for the exercise of his rights in criminal proceedings. The court shall inform the accused person in a language which he understands that he may, to that end, demand the free assistance of an interpreter or a translator for the entire duration of the criminal proceedings.

2.      For the exercise of the procedural rights of an accused person who does not have a command of German, as a general rule, a written translation of measures depriving a person of his liberty, as well as statements of indictments, penal orders and judgments which are not final shall be required ...’

9.        Under Paragraph 37(3) of the Strafprozessordnung (German Code of Criminal Procedure, ‘the StPO’), ‘if a translation of the judgment is to be made available to a party to the proceedings, pursuant to Paragraph 187(1) and (2) of the Law on the Judicial System, the judgment shall be notified to that party together with the translation’.

10.      Paragraph 407(1) of the StPO, which concerns the possibility of having recourse to a penal order, states that ‘in criminal proceedings … the legal consequences of the offence may, on the written request of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, be determined without a hearing by a penal order in writing. The Public Prosecutor’s Office shall put forward such a request if, in the light of the outcome of the investigation, it considers that a hearing is not necessary. The request shall suggest precise legal consequences. The public action is thereby brought.’

11.      Paragraph 410 of the StPO, which concerns objections to a penal order and the force of res judicata, provides:

‘1.      The accused person may lodge an objection to a penal order at the court which made the penal order within two weeks of service, in writing or by making a statement recorded by the registry ...

2.      The objection may be limited to certain points of complaint.

3.      Where no objection has been lodged against a penal order in due time, that order shall be equivalent to a judgment having the force of res judicata.’

II.    Facts, procedure and the question referred

12.      On 2 November 2015, at the request of the Staatsanwaltschaft Aachen (Public Prosecutor’s Office, Aachen, Germany), the Amtsgericht Düren (Local Court, Düren, Germany) issued a penal order (‘the contested penal order’) against Mr Frank Sleutjes — the defendant — a Netherlands national living in the Netherlands, in which the defendant, on account of unlawfully leaving the scene of an accident, was fined 30 daily penalties of EUR 30 and also had his right to drive revoked. For a period of nine months, the driving licence authority was instructed, on the one hand, not to permit the defendant to continue to use the foreign right to drive and, on the other hand, not to grant him a German right to drive. The contested penal order further specifies that this revocation has the effect of disqualifying him from making use of the right to drive in Germany. Additionally, the defendant was ordered to pay the costs.

13.      The contested penal order contains information on the legal remedies available. It is stated, inter alia, that the contested penal order will be legally binding and enforceable if the defendant does not lodge an objection, within two weeks of notification, at the Local Court listed in that notification — in the present case the Amtsgericht Düren (Local Court, Düren) — in writing or by making a statement recorded at the court office. In the case of a written objection, as explained by the information on the legal remedies available, the time period within which to do so will have been observed only if the notice of objection is received at the court within two weeks. Finally, the information on the legal remedies available contains, in a separate paragraph, the final sentence: ‘the written appeal must be lodged in German’.

14.      The notification of the contested penal order to the defendant took place on 12 November 2015 by registered letter. The defendant was notified of the contested penal order in German. Only the information on the legal remedies available was additionally and simultaneously delivered to him in a Dutch language translation.

15.      On 24 November 2015, at 20.32 the defendant sent an email to the Amtsgericht Düren (Local Court, Düren) in which he objected in Dutch to the contested penal order. On 26 November 2015, he asked the Amtsgericht Aachen (Local Court, Aachen) — likewise in Dutch — whether the email of 24 November 2015 had been received there. The Amtsgericht Düren (Local Court, Düren) informed the defendant by letter dated 1 December 2015, sent on 8 December 2015, that letters lodged at the court must be in German. Previously, on 1 December 2015, the defendant’s current defence lawyer had lodged an objection to the contested penal order by fax and at the same time sought relief from the effects of the expiry ofthe period for lodging an objection.

16.      By decision of 28 January 2016, the Amtsgericht Düren (Local Court, Düren) dismissed the defendant’s objection against the contested penal order as inadmissible on account of its late submission. At the same time it rejected the defendant’s request for relief from the effects of the expiry ofthe period for lodging an objection, as it considered that insufficient grounds for granting such relief had been put forward. That decision was notified to the defence lawyer on 2 February 2016. By a fax of 4 February 2016, received on the same day, the defence lawyer lodged an immediate challenge against that decision which, as a result, is now pending before the referring court.

17.      The referring court considers that the defendant does not have a command of the German language within the meaning of Paragraph 187(1) of the GVG. It also considers the decision of 28 January 2016 of the Amtsgericht Düren (Local Court, Düren) to be correct, but that EU law and, in particular, Article 3 of Directive 2010/64 might require a different outcome. In that regard, it points out that, unlike Paragraph 187(2) of the GVG, Paragraph 37(3) of the StPO does not refer to penal orders. In its view, the case-law of the Court does not clearly settle the question whether penal orders are to be translated for the accused. If that were so, it would have to conclude that the period within which an objection may be lodged would not yet have been set in motion. Considering Directive 2010/64 not to require such an interpretation yet entertaining doubts in the light, inter alia, of the diverging positions taken by German courts on that issue, the referring court decided to stay the proceedings and to refer the following question to the Court for a preliminary ruling:

‘Is Article 3 of [Directive 2010/64] to be interpreted as meaning that the term “judgment” in Paragraph 37(3) of the [StPO] also includes penal orders within the meaning of Paragraph 407 et seq. of the [StPO]?’

18.      Written observations have been submitted by Mr Sleutjes, the German Government, the Czech and Netherlands Governments and the Commission. Pursuant to Article 76(2) of the Rules of Procedure, no hearing has been held.

III. Analysis

A.      Form

19.      The German Government observes that, on a proper construction of the applicable German rules, the term ‘judgment’ in Paragraph 37(3) of the StPO also includes penal orders within the meaning of Paragraph 407 et seq. of the StPO. Hence, that Government takes the view that the resolution of the dispute in the main proceedings does not depend on the question referred.

20.      In that regard, suffice it to say that questions on the interpretation of EU law referred by a national court in the factual and legislative context which that court is responsible for defining and the accuracy of which is not a matter for the Court to determine enjoy a presumption of relevance. (7) It is not obvious that the interpretation of Article 3 of Directive 2010/64 sought by the referring court is unrelated to the actual facts of the action before it or its subject matter, that the dispute regarding translation raised in the main proceedings is hypothetical, or that the Court does not have before it the factual or legal material necessary to give a useful answer to the question referred. Therefore, the doubts raised by the German Government cannot call the admissibility of this request for a preliminary ruling into question.

21.      However, on its face, the wording of the question referred does leave the impression that the referring court seeks an interpretation from the Court of Paragraph 37(3) of the StPO, which the Court does not have jurisdiction to give under Article 267 TFEU. Nonetheless, the line of reasoning set forth in the order for reference makes it clear that the referring court in fact seeks an interpretation of Article 3 of Directive 2010/64. The question referred ought therefore to be reformulated accordingly.

22.      In addition, I shall not follow the Commission’s suggestion that the question be reformulated so as to include also a request for the interpretation of Directive 2012/13. In line with the presumption of relevance mentioned above, it cannot be presumed that the question asked by the referring court is deficient in not referring to that other directive. On the contrary, nothing leads me to believe that the referring court is unaware of that other directive: the order for reference cites the judgment in Covaci, (8)which also interpreted Directive 2012/13. In any event, it may refer another question to the Court on the interpretation of that directive, should it consider it appropriate to do so. (9)

23.      Against that background, by its question, it seems to me that the referring court essentially wishes to know whether an ‘essential document’, as referred to in Article 3 of Directive 2010/64, includes a penal order within the meaning of Paragraph 407 et seq. of the StPO.

B.      Substance

1.      A penal order is an ‘essential document’ under Article 3 of Directive 2010/64

24.      The referring court is inclined to answer the question as reformulated in the preceding point in the negative. In contrast, all the parties who have lodged observations take the opposite view.

25.      Before answering that question, it is worth calling to mind that the procedure laid down in respect of the issuing of a penal order within the meaning of Paragraph 407 et seq. of the StPO is a simplified procedure which does not require a hearing or a trial inter partes. More specifically, the Court has held that the penal order provided for under German law is adopted on the basis of a sui generis procedure. That procedure provides that the only possibility the accused person has of obtaining a trial inter partes, in which he can fully exercise his right to be heard, is to lodge an objection against that order. (10)

26.      Unsurprisingly therefore, the Court has held that the situation of a person who wishes to lodge an objection against a penal order which has not yet acquired the force of res judicata and of which he is the addressee falls within the scope of that directive, with the result that that person must be able to exercise the right to interpretation and translation guaranteed by Directive 2010/64. (11)

27.      In the judgment in Covaci, the national court was requested by the Public Prosecutor’s Office to issue a penal order which specified, among other things, that an objection was to be raised in German. As it was in doubt, the national court asked the Court, inter alia, whether Directive 2010/64 precludes national rules which do not permit the person to whom a penal order is addressed and who does not understand German to lodge his objection against that order in a language that he understands. The Court answered that question in the negative, albeit that it added that national authorities may expressly allow the person lodging that objection to do so if they consider that document to constitute an ‘essential document’. (12)

28.      As for the translation of the penal order itself, which lies at the heart of the matter under consideration, the Court was not called upon to address that issue in that case. However, let there be no doubt: suspected or accused persons who do not understand German are, within a reasonable period of time, to be provided with a written translation thereof. That is borne out by the wording, the context and the aim of Article 3 of Directive 2010/64.

29.      As regards, first, its wording, Article 3(1) of Directive 2010/64 speaks of ‘all documents which are essential to ensure that they are able to exercise their right of defence and to safeguard the fairness of the proceedings’. Article 3(2) of Directive 2010/64 specifies that ‘essential documents shall include any decision depriving a person of his liberty, any charge or indictment, and any judgment’. As Recital 30 of Directive 2010/64 confirms, that enumeration is non-exhaustive. (13)

30.      Unlike the Commission, I am not so sure that a penal order is to be likened to a ‘charge or an indictment’. It is of course true that the Court has held that a penal order is a form of communication of the accusation against the person concerned under Directive 2012/13. (14) However, unlike a charge or an indictment, a penal order is a decision issued by a court which acquires the force of res judicata if no objection is lodged against it in due time. It therefore also presents certain similarities with a ‘judgment’ under Article 3(2) of Directive 2010/64. (15) Regardless of whether it is the one or the other, it seems self-evident that the translation of a penal order is essential to ensure that the person to whom it is addressed is able to understand its content and, consequently, to exercise his rights of defence in relation to the penalty which it is set to impose. It would therefore invariably fall to be classified as an ‘essential document’ under Article 3(1) of the directive.

31.      Second, the context of Directive 2010/64 confirms the idea that a penal order is an ‘essential document’ under Article 3 of Directive 2010/64.

32.      Here, in line with the Netherlands Government, I would point to Article 1(3) of Directive 2010/64. That provision carves out from the scope of that directive certain administrative penalties for minor offences. Its aim is, according to Recital 16 of Directive 2010/64, to remove the duty which would otherwise be incumbent on administrative authorities to ensure all the rights provided under that directive where this would be unreasonable to require. That recital specifies that this is particularly the case in relation to traffic offences which are committed on a large scale and which might be established following a traffic control — the prime example of which would be speeding. Conversely, that also confirms the view that a court decision which may lead to the imposition of a penalty for a traffic offence for a matter which is not simply an instance of speeding, such as the contested penal order, is a typical matter to which the rights provided under the directive apply.

33.      Last, the aim of Directive 2010/64, which is apparent from Recital 14 thereof, also supports the view that a penal order must be recognised as an ‘essential document’ which requires translation if the accused does not understand German. That aim is ‘to ensure the right of suspected or accused persons to interpretation and translation in criminal proceedings with a view to ensuring their right to a fair trial’. The right to interpretation and translation for those who do not speak or understand the language of the proceedings is enshrined in Article 6 of the ECHR. Indeed, compliance with the requirements relating to a fair trial ensures that the accused person knows what is being alleged against him and can defend himself. (16) The directive facilitates the application of that right in practice.

34.      Not to require the translation of a penal order, which may potentially lead to the lasting imposition of a penalty — particularly if the person to whom it is addressed does not understand it because that person does not understand German — would clearly put that person’s right to a fair trial in jeopardy. It would in fact be justice denied.

35.      What is stated above is not gainsaid by the fact that, under Article 3(3) of Directive 2010/64, it is for the competent authorities to decide, in a given case, whether any other document is essential. Indeed, that provision concerns documents which are not already considered essential under Article 3(1) and (2) of the directive. (17)

36.      Nor does the judgment in Balogh call into question the solution I propose. That case concerned a procedure for recognition, in Hungary, of the effects of a final judgment handed down in Austria, sentencing Mr István Balogh to a term of imprisonment and ordering him to pay the costs. The criminal proceedings in Austria against Mr Balogh had already come to an end, and his right to translation had been ensured in those proceedings. That led the Court to conclude that Directive 2010/64 did not apply to such a procedure for recognition. (18)

37.      It follows from all the above that a document such as a penal order within the meaning of Paragraph 407 et seq. of the StPO is an ‘essential document’ within the meaning of Article 3 of Directive 2010/64. Accordingly, it must be translated in the event that the person to whom it is addressed does not understand German.

2.      Further considerations regarding the right to translation in criminal proceedings under Article 3 of Directive 2010/64

38.      Given the consequences attaching to the view taken above, certain further considerations regarding the right to translation in criminal proceedings under Article 3 of Directive 2010/64 are called for, as they might assist the referring court in resolving the case pending before it.

39.      On the one hand, that right is universal, as Directive 2010/64 does not limit the scope ratione personae of the persons who may qualify for the protection it confers. The only requirement which must be met in order to trigger that protection is that they have been made aware that they are suspected or accused of having committed a criminal offence.

40.      On the other hand, Directive 2010/64 does not specify the language in which the person suspected or accused of having committed a criminal offence who does not understand the language of procedure must receive a translation of the essential documents. Nothing therefore suggests that it must be the native language of that person. On the contrary, Article 3(4) of that directive makes it clear that the objective of the translation is to enable the suspected or accused person ‘to have knowledge of the case against’ him. It would therefore seem possible to have recourse to a ‘pivot’ language which that person understands, as long as such recourse is not had for arbitrary reasons.

41.      Specifically, the latter provision enables Member States not to translate passages of essential documents which are not relevant for the purposes of enabling a suspected or accused person to have knowledge of the case against him. However, what it does not do is to permit the translation of an essential document to be substituted for the mere provision of complementary information on the legal remedies available to that person in a language that person understands, as happened in the main proceedings. Furthermore, the translation — regardless of the language chosen — must, under Article 3(9) of Directive 2010/64, be of a quality sufficient to safeguard the fairness of the proceedings. The person concerned has a right, under Article 3(5) thereof, to bring a complaint in accordance with national rules if the quality of the translation is lacking or if none was deemed required.

42.      As for the issue of timing, the right to translation in criminal proceedings under Article 3 of Directive 2010/64 applies, pursuant to Article 1(2) thereof, from the moment that the person concerned has been made aware that he is suspected or accused of having committed a criminal offence until the final determination of whether he has committed the offence, including, where applicable, sentencing and possible appeals procedures. However, a translation of an essential document need not be provided at the same time as the essential document, as Article 3(1) of that directive specifies that such a translation need be given to the person concerned only within a ‘reasonable period of time’. Be that as it may, I need hardly point out that the person concerned must also have a reasonable period of time in order to become acquainted with and, where relevant, to respond to the content of the essential document.

43.      When it comes to a breach of the right to translation, Directive 2010/64 does not indicate any specific measure to be taken by the Member States. That silence therefore leaves them free to choose between the different solutions suitable for achieving the objective of that provision, depending on the different situations which may arise. (19) That may be done, for instance, either by granting an application for relief from the effects of the expiry ofthe period for lodging an objection (20)or, if necessary, by leaving unapplied the national rule setting a time limit for the lodging of objections. (21)

44.      At any rate, it is clear that a Member State is estopped from prosecuting a person who does not understand the language of procedure by relying on essential documents which ought to be, yet have not been, translated for the person concerned. To do so would not only deprive the directive of all practical effect, but would also breach the rights of the defence and prejudice the fairness of the proceedings under Article 6 of the ECHR, which the directive is intended to facilitate in practice. It therefore seems to me to be in the interest of the Member States to ensure that the ‘reasonable period of time’ within which persons suspected or accused of having committed an offence are to receive such translations remains as short as possible.

45.      The referring court gives its view, in the order for reference, of the consequences of a breach of Article 3 of Directive 2010/64 on the time limit set for raising an objection to a penal order. It states that the notification of the contested penal order without an accompanying Dutch translation of the entire text would have been ineffective. The result would be that the period within which to lodge an objection would not yet have been set in motion.

46.      On that point, I would call to mind that in the absence of EU rules, Member States are entitled to regulate court proceedings by setting such time limits as they see fit, pursuant to the principle of procedural autonomy. However, in line with the principle of equivalence, persons suspected or accused of having committed a criminal offence who do not understand the language of the procedure and who accordingly seek to rely on their rights under Directive 2010/64 ought not to be put at a disadvantage compared to persons who do understand that language and who, on balance, are more likely to be nationals of the prosecuting Member State. (22) I therefore agree with the referring court that the period for the lodging of an objection to a penal order ought not to be set in motion before the moment when the person concerned receives a proper translation of the penal order. Anything shorter would risk compromising the rights of the defence and, by the same token, the principle of effectiveness. (23)

IV.    Conclusion

47.      On the basis of the foregoing considerations, I propose that the Court answer the question referred by the Landgericht Aachen (Regional Court, Aachen, Germany) to the effect that, on a proper construction of Article 3 of Directive 2010/64/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 October 2010 on the right to interpretation and translation in criminal proceedings, a document such as a penal order within the meaning of Paragraph 407 et seq. of the Strafprozessordnung (German Code of Criminal Procedure) is an ‘essential document’ which, accordingly, must be translated in the event that the person to whom it is addressed does not understand German.


1      Original language: English.


2      Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 October 2010 on the right to interpretation and translation in criminal proceedings (OJ 2010 L 280, p. 1).


3      European Council, ‘The Stockholm Programme — an open and secure Europe serving and protecting citizens’ (OJ 2010 C 115, pp. 1 and 10).


4      Annex to the Resolution of the Council of 30 November 2009 on a Roadmap for strengthening procedural rights of suspected or accused persons in criminal proceedings (OJ 2009 C 295, p. 3).


5      See judgments of 15 October 2015, , C‑216/14, EU:C:2015:686, and of 9 June 2016, , C‑25/15, EU:C:2016:423.


6      Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2012 on the right to information in criminal proceedings (OJ 2012 L 142, p. 1).


7      See judgment of 8 December 2016, , C‑532/15 and C‑538/15, EU:C:2016:932, paragraph 28 and the case-law cited.


8      Judgment of 15 October 2015, , C‑216/14, EU:C:2015:686.


9      See, to that effect, judgment of 17 July 2014, , C‑58/13 and C‑59/13, EU:C:2014:2088, paragraph 32 and the case-law cited.


10      Judgment of 15 October 2015, , C‑216/14, EU:C:2015:686, paragraphs 20 and 41.


11      Judgment of 15 October 2015, , C‑216/14, EU:C:2015:686, paragraph 27.


12      Judgment of 15 October 2015, , C‑216/14, EU:C:2015:686, paragraphs 47 to 50.


13      Judgment of 15 October 2015, , C‑216/14, EU:C:2015:686, paragraph 45.


14      Judgment of 15 October 2015, , C‑216/14, EU:C:2015:686, paragraph 61.


15      In that regard, the concept of a ‘judgment’ is broad under the Brussels regime on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters. See, in particular, Article 2(a) of Regulation (EU) No 1215/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2012 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters (OJ 2012 L 351, p. 1), which provides that a ‘judgment’ ‘means any judgment given by a court or tribunal of a Member State, whatever the judgment may be called, including a decree, order, decision or writ of execution, as well as a decision on the determination of costs or expenses by an officer of the court’. See, in that connection, judgment of 2 April 2009, , C‑394/07, EU:C:2009:219, paragraph 23 and the case-law cited.


16      See, to that effect, judgment of 15 October 2015, , C‑216/14, EU:C:2015:686, paragraph 39 and the case-law cited.


17      Judgment of 15 October 2015, , C‑216/14, EU:C:2015:686, paragraph 49.


18      Judgment of 9 June 2016, , C‑25/15, EU:C:2016:423, paragraphs 36 to 40.


19      See, by analogy, judgment of 17 July 2008, , C‑94/07, EU:C:2008:425, paragraph 50 and the case-law cited.


20      See, by way of example, judgment of 22 March 2017, , C‑124/16, C‑188/16 and C‑213/16, EU:C:2017:228, paragraph 51.


21      See, for an example of the duty incumbent on national courts, under EU law, to leave unapplied an interpretation of national law which is at odds with EU law, judgment of 19 April 2016, , C‑441/14, EU:C:2016:278, paragraph 42 and the case-law cited.


22      See, for an admittedly somewhat different set of circumstances, judgments of 24 November 1998, , C‑274/96, EU:C:1998:563, paragraph 26, and of 27 March 2014, , C‑322/13, EU:C:2014:189, paragraph 20.


23      See, concerning the time limit to object to a penal order in relation to Directive 2012/13, judgment of 22 March 2017, , C‑124/16, C‑188/16 and C‑213/16, EU:C:2017:228, paragraph 51.