How to apply the Charter?

Applying the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union in law
6 How to apply the Charter
Where during an e xamination of the drafti ng of national law or policies t he conclusion
is reached that the Char ter applies, such national law and pol icies need to be inter-
preted in line with th e Charter and, where necessary, reviewed aga inst the Charter.
This requires natio nal actors to know how to interpret the C harter and to understan d
whether and to what e xtent the exercise of Charter rights ca n be limited.
What are the relevant tools for interpretation?
Various tools can info rm the interpretation of Charter righ ts:
The Explanat ions relating to the Charter.
The explanati ons are a useful point of
departure provid ing guidance on th e interpretation of th e Charter and are to be
taken into consideration when interpreting the Charter provisions.
The case law of the CJEU.
The ECHR and the cas e law of the European Court of Human Right s.
Constitutional traditions common to the Member States.
Relevant sources of intern ational law (other than the ECH R), particularl y the
European Social Cha rter, which inspired the fo rmulation of a num ber of provi-
sions of the EU Charte r of Fundamental Rights. Both the C harter and its Explana-
tions mention cer tain instrum ents of internation al law that are relevant for th e
interpretation of th e Charter.
Relevant national law s. Some Charter provisions make reference to natio nal law.
For example, Ar ticle 9 (right to marry and r ight to found a family) st ates that,
“[t]he right to marry and the rig ht to found a family shall be gua ranteed in accord-
ance with the nationa l laws governing the exercise of these right s”.
97 Off‌icial Jo urnal of the European U nion, OJC303, 14Decemb er2007, pp.17–35.
98 European Communi ties (2012), Consolidated v ersion of the Treaty on the Euro pean Union
(TEU), OJ C 326, 26 O ctober 2012, Ar t. 6(1) and EU (2012), Charter of Fund amental Rights of th e
European Uni on, OJ 2012 C326, 26Octobe r2012, Art.52(7).
99 Available at Curia or EUR-Lex.
100 EU (2012), Charte r of Fundamental Rig hts of the European Unio n, OJ2012C326, 26 October
2012, Art .52(3).
101 EU (2012), Charte r of Fundamental Rig hts of the European Unio n, OJ2012C326, 26October
2012, Art .52(4).
102 See the Annex to this handbook.

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