Reference for a preliminary ruling from the Supreme Court (Ireland) made on 7 October 2019 – VK v An Bord Pleanála

(Case C-739/19)

Language of the case: English

Referring court

Supreme Court

Parties to the main proceedings

Applicants: VK

Defendant: An Bord Pleanála

Questions referred

Is a member state precluded from exercising the option to be found in Article 5 of Directive 77/249/EEC1 of 22 March 1977, as amended, which permits a member state to impose a requirement on a lawyer who is engaged in the activity of representing a client in legal proceedings “to work in conjunction with a lawyer who practises before the judicial authority in question”, in all circumstances where the party whom the visiting lawyer wishes to represent in such proceedings would be entitled to self-represent?

If the answer to question 1 is no, by reference to what factors should a national court assess whether it is permissible to impose a requirement to “practice in conjunction with”?

In particular, would the imposition of a limited obligation to practice “in conjunction with”, in the manner described earlier in this order for reference, amount to a proportionate interference in the freedom of lawyers to provide services so as to be justified, having regard to the public interest involved being both the need to protect consumers of legal services and the need to secure the proper administration of justice?

If the answer to question 3 is yes, does that position pertain in all circumstances and, if not, what factors should a national court take into account in determining whether such a requirement can be imposed in a particular case?


1 Council Directive 77/249/EEC of 22 March 1977 to facilitate the effective exercise by lawyers of freedom to provide services (OJ 1977, L 78, p. 17).