In the case C-432/05 (Unibet [London] Ltd, Unibet [International] Ltd v. Justitiekanslern) the European Court of Justice once again managed to refer to the – still legally non-binding – Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.
And as before in the case C-540/03 it seems as if the Court did not actually have to refer to the Charter in order to present a convincing legal argument, but rather did so out of free will in order to support a „general principle of Community law stemming from the constitutional traditions common to the Member States“ which was also mentioned to be enshrined in the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (see C-540/03, para. 37). So once again, the Charter is not so much used as a detached legal source in itself, but rather to further confirm an already existing result. This trinity (constitutional traditions common to the Member States + European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms + Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union) seems to be a true success story with the ECJ!
It remains to be seen however, if this usage of the Charter leads to a greater significance of the Charter itself or “merely” functions as a strengthening of the position of the fundamental rights within the European Community Law. Either way, it means progress for the rule of law within the European legal order.