ORDER OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE COURT

20 September 2018 (*)

(Expedited procedure)

In Joined Cases C‑508/18 and C‑509/18,

REQUEST for two preliminary rulings under Article 267 TFEU from the Supreme Court (Ireland), made by decision of 31 July 2018, received at the Court 6 August 2018, in the proceedings

Minister for Justice and Equality

v

OG (C‑508/18)

and

PF (C‑509/18),

THE PRESIDENT OF THE COURT,

after hearing the Judge Rapporteur, K. Jürimäe, and the Advocate General, M. Campos Sánchez-Bordona,

makes the following

Order

1        These requests for a preliminary ruling concern the interpretation of Article 6(1) of Council Framework Decision 2002/584/JHA of 13 June 2002 on the European arrest warrant and the surrender procedures between Member States (OJ 2002 L 190, p. 1), as amended by Council Framework Decision 2009/299/JHA of 26 February 2009 (OJ 2009 L 81, p. 24; ‘the Framework Decision’).

2        Those requests were presented in enforcement proceedings in Ireland of two European arrest warrants issued respectively on 13 May 2016 by the Office of the Public Prosecutor of the Landgericht Lübeck (Regional Court, Lübeck, Germany) (‘the Lübeck Public Prosecutor’) for the prosecution for an offence against OG, a Lithuanian national, for which the Lübeck Public Prosecutor identifies as ‘murder and grievous bodily harm’ (Case C‑508/18), and on 18 April 2014 by the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Republic of Lithuania (‘the Prosecutor General’) for the prosecution of an offence against PF, a Lithuanian national, for what the Prosecutor General describes as ‘armed robbery’ (Case C‑509/18).

3        It is apparent from the order for reference that, in proceedings for the execution of those two European arrest warrants, the referring court asks, in particular, whether the Lübeck Public Prosecutor and the Prosecutor General are ‘judicial authorities’ within the meaning of Article 6(1) of Framework Decision 2002/584, as amended by Framework Decision 2009/299.

4        In those circumstances, the Supreme Court decided to stay the proceedings and refer that question to the Court for a preliminary ruling. The referring court has also requested the Court of Justice to apply an expedited procedure to the present case pursuant to Article 105(1) of its Rules of Procedure.

5        Under that provision, at the request of the referring court or tribunal or, exceptionally, of his own motion, the President of the Court may, where the nature of the case requires that it be dealt with within a short time, after hearing the Judge-Rapporteur and the Advocate General, decide that a reference for a preliminary ruling is to be determined pursuant to an expedited procedure derogating from the provisions of these rules.

6        In support of its requests for the expedited procedure to be applied to the present cases, the referring court relies, first, on the fact that those cases concern the European arrest warrant and that the surrender procedures concern the prosecution of a serious crime committed by OG in 1995 and a crime committed by PF in 2012.

7        Second, as regards Case C‑508/18, that court states that OG is subject to supervision measures requiring him to go to a police station once per week and a ban on leaving Ireland. As regards Case C‑509/18, the referring court states that PF is not currently incarcerated.

8        Third, according to the referring court, the present requests for a preliminary ruling could raise doubts about the status of the public prosecutors in Germany and in Lithuania as judicial authorities, which would have consequences for other European arrest warrants issued by those Member States. It also draws attention to the potential impact of the pending judgment in the present cases on other requests for the enforcement of European arrest warrants from those Member States involving persons in detention. Furthermore, it states that, in Ireland, several cases relating to requests for the enforcement of European arrest warrants have been stayed before the Irish courts pending the judgments it will give as a result of the outcome the present requests for a preliminary ruling.

9        In that connection, it must be recalled that the application of the expedited procedure does not depend on the nature of the case as such, nor on the number of persons or legal positions potentially concerned by the questions referred for a preliminary ruling, but on exceptional circumstances particular to the case in question which must establish that a ruling on those questions is a matter of exceptional urgency (order of the President of the Court of 30 May 2018, KN, C‑191/18, not published, EU:C:2018:383, paragraph 20).

10      With regard to the case in the main proceedings, the Supreme Court has not established the existence of exceptional circumstances particular to OG and PF’s situation which are capable of demonstrating exceptional urgency.

11      Concerning the ground that the requests for a preliminary ruling concern the enforcement of a European arrest warrant and, therefore, require a swift response, that ground is not sufficient in itself to justify the application of the expedited procedure referred to in Article 105(1) of the Rules of Procedure to those cases since the latter is a procedural instrument intended to address matters of exceptional urgency (orders of the President of the Court of 10 January 2012, Arslan, C‑534/11, not published, EU:C:2012:4, paragraph 6; of 24 October 2017, Popławski, C‑573/17, not published, EU:C:2017:827, paragraph 7; and of 20 December 2017, M.A. and Others, C‑661/17, not published, EU:C:2017:1024, paragraph 17).

12      Furthermore, it is apparent from the order for reference in case C‑508/18 that OG was released on bail. Although it has been pointed out that OG is subject to supervision measures, in the present case, that fact cannot be regarded as constituting an exceptional circumstance that requires that case to be dealt with within a short time, within the meaning of Article 105(1) of the Rules of Procedure, and, therefore, to apply the expedited procedure (see, by analogy, judgment of 1 June 2016, Bob-Dogi, C‑241/15, EU:C:2016:385, paragraphs 27 to 29).

13      As regards Case C‑509/18, it is clear from the order for reference that PF is not currently in custody which is a reason for refusing an application for the expedited procedure under Article 105(1) of the Rules of Procedure (see, by analogy, order of the President of the Court of 23 December 2015, Vilkas, C‑640/15, not published, EU:C:2015:862, paragraph 11 and the case-law cited).

14      As regards similar cases which may be concerned by the decisions of the referring court in the cases in the main proceedings, it is clear from settled case-law that the large number or persons of legal situations which may be affected by the decision that a referring court must give after making a reference to the Court for a preliminary ruling does not, as such, constitute an exceptional circumstance justifying the application of the expedited procedure. The same is true of a large number of cases which may be stayed pending the ruling of the Court of Justice (see, in particular, order of the President of the Court of Justice of 24 October 2017, Popławski, C‑573/17, not published, EU:C:2017:827, paragraph 8 and the case-law cited).

15      In so far as the referring court refers to the fact that the present requests for a preliminary ruling may lead to a challenge to the power of the German and Lithuanian public prosecutors to issue European arrest warrants, it suffices to note that it does not appear, despite the importance of that question, that uncertainty as to the answer to be given may have widespread repercussions for the national authorities required to issue and enforce European arrest warrants, in an exceptionally high number of cases (see, by analogy, order of the President of the Court of 14 July 2017, C‑297/17, C‑318/17 and C‑319/17, Ibrahim and Others, EU:C:2017:561, paragraphs 19 to 21).

16       Moreover, the fact, noted by the Supreme Court, that cases similar to that in the main proceedings, involving, as it may be, persons in custody, is not relevant for the purposes of assessing whether the present cases warrant an urgent reply, without prejudice to a decision which may be taken in that regard, if one of those similar cases were to be the subject of a reference to the Court for a preliminary ruling (see, to that effect, order of the President of the Court of 30 May 2018, KN, C‑191/18, not published, EU:C:2018:383, paragraph 22).

17       Having regard to all of the foregoing considerations, it must be held that none of the grounds presented by the referring court in support of its requests be determined pursuant to the expedited procedure justifies the granting of those requests. In those circumstances, those requests must be dismissed.

On those grounds, the President of the Court hereby orders:

The requests from the Supreme Court (Ireland) to apply the expedited procedure provided for in Article 105(1) of the Rules of Procedure to Cases C508/18 and C509/18 are dismissed.

Luxembourg, 20 September 2018.


A. Calot Escobar

 

K. Lenaerts

Registrar

 

President


*      Language of the case: English.