Since 1 March, national court cases in relation to freedom, security and justice may be eligible for a new, urgent procedure when referred to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) for a preliminary ruling. A preliminary ruling is a procedure by which a national court may request a ruling from the ECJ on a matter of EU law relevant to the case. These preliminary rulings take, on average, a year and a half to be delivered. As a consequence, they have been impracticable in urgent cases, such as those concerning whether or not to deprive a person of his liberty, or where parental authority or custody of children is involved. A simplified and accelerated written ruling using electronic means of communication is the main feature of the new expedited procedure.