EU Law Cases



Topic: Free movement of goods and internal market

Defines MEEQR:

“All trading rules enacted by Member States which are capable of hindering, directly or indirectly, actually or potentially, intra-Community trade are to be considered as measures having an effect equivalent to quantitative restrictions.”

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'Cassis de Dijon' Case

Topic: Free movement of goods and internal market

MEEQRs are accepted in so far as those provisions may be recognised as being necessary in order to satisfy mandatory requirements such as:

   Effectiveness of fiscal [monetary] supervision

   Protection of public health

   Fairness of commercial transactions

   Defence of the consumer

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Topic: Free movement of goods and internal market

Contrary to what has previously been decided, “certain selling arrangements” shall no longer be regarded as hindering State trade within the meaning of Dassonville

Important differentiation:

   regulations re the characteristics of the goods are (still) covered by Article 34 TFEU

   regulations re certain selling arrangements are (no longer) covered by Art. 34 as long as they: 

     - apply equally to all traders; 

     - have the same effect on imported and domestic goods

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'Tobacco Advertising' Case

Topic: Free movement of goods and internal market

EC Directive which banned all advertising of tobacco products was annulled for lack of legal basis

No internal market aim in Directive:

- Neither in relation to establishment of internal market (imposed stricter limits on Member States),

- Nor in relation to functioning of internal market (Directive eliminated competition for these products)

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Van Gend en Loos

Topic: Direct effect

European Court of Justice: in order to have direct effect the provision needs to:

   (1) be clear,

   (2) be unconditional,

   (3) and not depend on further action by the Member State 

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Costa v ENEL

Topic: Direct effect

In a conflict situation between EC law and Member State law, it is the EC law that is to prevail

EU law is an independent source of law which may not be overridden by domestic legal provisions; a contrary view would undermine the Union's character and affect its ability to achieve its objectives

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Defrenne II

Topic: Direct effect

Provisions (article 157 TFEU in this case) are directly effective (horizontally) between an individual and another private party 

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Van Duyn

Topic: Direct effect

Freedom of movement of workers between Member States can only be restricted due to:

- Public policy

- Public security

- Public health

- Overriding reasons of public interest

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Topic: Direct Effect

A directive may not impose obligations on an individual - so no horizontal effect


- Notion of the State

- Failure to notify technical standards

- General principles of law

- Indirect effect

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Faccini Dori

Topic: Direct Effect

Where damage has been suffered due to a breach by the State of its obligations (e.g. not implementing a directive), it is for the national court to obtain reparation for the individual(s)

When horizontal direct effect can't be used, State liability can be imposed instead

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Topic: Direct Effect

There can't be horizontal direct effect, but a very broad definition of 'State' can be used instead (e.g. organisations which provide a public service can be seen as an extension of the State)

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Topic: Direct Effect

The national court should stretch the existing national law as far as possible in order to comply with a directive (indirect effect)

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Topic: Direct Effect

General principles of law (e.g. prohibitions of discrimination) are applicable to horizontal direct effect without any limits

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Topic: Direct Effect

State liability conditions:

- The rule of law infringed must have intended to confer rights on individuals

- The breach must be 'sufficiently serious'

- There must be a direct causal link between the breach and the  damage

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Topic: Direct Effect

A judicial institution, as well as a legislative institution, can manifestly infringe EU law

A citizen should not be prevented from recovering damages in exceptional situations

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Topic: Annulment

For a claimant in judicial review proceedings to be individually concerned with a measure which is not directly addressed to them, a claimant must show that he is affected by reason of :

Certain attributes which are peculiar to them or by reason of circumstances in which they are differentiated from all other persons

General public: No individual concern

Interested parties: No individual concern

Closed category: Individual concern

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Topic: Annulment

A regulation prevented Codorniu from using its trademark; this trademark constituted a 'specific right', which the Court considered as a separate basis for individual concern alongside the closed category test

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UPA v Council

Topic: Annulment

Advocate General Jacobs proposed a test that would render an applicant individually concerned where an EU measure 'has, or is liable to have, a substantial adverse effect on his interests'

Shift in focus from the formalistic Plaumann test to one based on the economic impact of an EU measure

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Topic: Annulment

This case confirmed that a 'regulatory act' within the meaning of Article 263 TFEU means 'non-legislative act' (i.e. not a legislative act created by the processed listed in Article 289 TFEU)

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Topic: Preliminary rulings

This case distinguished between:

1. Where the seat of a company incorporated under the law of one Member State is transferred to another Member State with no change in regard to the law which governs that company (outside scope of Union law as company no longer satisfied preconditions of being a company formed under national law); and

2. Where a company governed by the law of one Member State moves to another Member State with an attendant change as regards the national law applicable (so company is reincorporated and is therefore within the scope of Union law)

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Topic: Preliminary rulings

This case provided some guidance as to when a matter of EU law may be decided without reference to the Court of Justice of the EU under Article 267 TFEU:

- It is for the national court to decide whether a question of EU law necessarily needs answering in order for it to provide a judgement

- There will be no obligation to refer if:

    - The question is not relevant to the outcome of the national case

    - The question (or a materially similar one) has previously been answered by Court of Justice

    - The answer is so obvious as to leave no scope for any reasonable doubt as to the answer

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Topic: Preliminary rulings

The Court of Justice of the European Union (all 3 courts) have exclusive jurisdiction to make judgements on the compatibility of EU law

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TWD Texilwerke Deggendorf

Topic: Preliminary rulings

If an applicant would clearly have had standing to bring a direct action for annulment under Article 263 TFEU but did not do so within the time limit, the Court will not entertain a reference on validity if the applicant subsequently brings proceedings before the national court

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