Guidelines on a Reference for Preliminary Ruling
8. In ruling on the interpretation or validity of East African Community law,
the Court makes every effort to give a reply which will be of assistance in
resolving the dispute, but it is for the referring court to draw the appropriate
conclusions from that reply.
The decision to submit a question to the Court
The originator of the question
9. Under Article 34 of the Treaty, any court of a Partner State, in so far as it
is called upon to give a ruling in proceedings intended to arrive at a decision of
a judicial nature, may as a rule refer a question to the East African Court of
Justice for a preliminary ruling.
10. It is for the national court alone to decide whether to refer a question to
the East African Court of Justice for a preliminary ruling. This is so irrespective
of whether or not the parties to the main proceedings have requested it to do
so.
Reference on interpretation
11. Any court may refer a question to the East African Court of Justice on the
interpretation of a rule of East African Community law if it considers it
necessary to do so in order to resolve a dispute brought before it.
12. It is for the national court to explain why the interpretation sought is
necessary to enable it to give judgment.
Reference on determination of validity
13. Although national courts may reject pleas raised before them challenging
the validity of regulations, directives, decisions or actions of the Community,
the East African Court of Justice has exclusive jurisdiction to declare such an
regulations, directives, decisions or actions invalid.
14. All national courts must therefore refer a question to the Court when they
have doubts about the validity of such regulations, directives, decisions or
actions, stating the reasons for which they consider that that act may be
invalid.
15. However, if a national court has serious doubts about the validity of a
regulation, directive, decision or action of the Community on which a national
measure is based, it may exceptionally suspend application of that measure
temporarily or grant other interim relief with respect to it. It must then refer

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