List of European Court of Justice rulings
The following is a list of notable judgments of the European Court of Justice.
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Principles of Union Law
Treaties, Regulations and Decisions
- Van Gend en Loos 26/62  ECR 1
"The [European Economic] Community constitutes a new legal order of international law for the benefit of which the [Member] States have limited their sovereign rights".
"The Court ... has the jurisdiction to answer ... questions referred that ... relate to the interpretation of the treaty."
- Franz Grad 9/70  ECR-825
- Commission v Italy 39/72  ECR 101
- Reyners 2/74  ECR 631
- Defrenne II  ECR 455
- Amsterdam Bulb 50/76  ECR 137
States can provide in national legislation for appropriate sanctions which are not provided for in the regulation, and can continue to regulate various related issues which are not covered in the regulation
- Zaera 126/86  ECR 3697
- Azienda Agricola C-403/98  ECR I-103
- Steinberg T-17/10  625
- Sharif University T-181/13  607
- Van Duyn v Home Office 41/74  ECR 1337
- Ratti 148/78  ECR 1629
Member States are precluded by their failure to implement a directive properly from refusing to recognise its binding effect in cases where it is pleaded against them, thus they cannot rely on their failure to implement the directive in time.
- Becker 8/81  ECR 53
- von Colson 14/83  ECR 1891
- Kolpinghuis Nijmegen 80/86  ECR 3969
There is no obligation of harmonious interpretation where the national measure, interpreted in the light of the directive, would impose criminal liability.
- Fratelli Costanzo 103/88  ECR 1839
- Foster C-188/89  ECR I-3313
- Marshall v Southampton and South-West Hampshire Area Health Authority Case 152/84  ECR I-4367
- Faccini Dori C-91/92  ECR I-3325
- CIA Security C-194/94  ECR I-2201
- Arcaro C-168/95  ECR I-4705
Notwithstanding the Kolpinghuis ruling, the creation of any other kind of legal disadvantage of detriment, save for criminal liability, is very well possible.
- Unilever Italia C-443/98  ECR I-7535
- Costa v ENEL 6/64  ECR 585
Community law takes precedence over the Member States' own domestic law.
- Simmenthal II 106/77  ECR 629
Duty to set aside provisions of national law which are incompatible with Community law.
- Marleasing C-106/89 ECR I-7321
National law must be interpreted and applied, insofar as possible, so as to avoid a conflict with a Community rule.
- Factortame I C-213/89  ECR I-2433
Duty on national courts to secure the full effectiveness of Community law, even where it is necessary to create a national remedy where none had previously existed.
Rejection of Reciprocity Principles of General International Law
- Commission v. Luxembourg & Belgium 90&91/63  ECR 625
"[I]n [the defendants’] view, … international law allows a party, injured by the failure of another party to perform its obligations, to withhold performance of its own … However, this relationship between the obligations of parties cannot be recognized under Community law. … [T]he basic concept of the treaty requires that the Member States not take the law into their own hands."
- Stauder 29/69  ECR 419
"Fundamental rights [are] enshrined in the general principles of Community law and protected by the Court."
- Internationale Handelsgesellschaft 11/70  ECR 1125
Fundamental rights are an integral part of the general principles of law the observance of which the Court ensures.
- Nold 4/73  ECR 491, §13
When protecting fundamental rights, "the Court is bound to draw inspiration from constitutional traditions common to the Member States, and it cannot therefore uphold measures which are incompatible with fundamental rights recognised and protected by the Constitutions of those States." The Court can also draw on international human rights treaties to which Member States have collaborated or are signatories.
- Carpenter C-60/00  ECR I-6279
Fundamental rights affect the scope and application of Community law. In Carpenter, the Court weaved principles of respect for family and private life from Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights into its analysis of the rights of Union citizens. It concluded that the right of a minor child to reside in a Member State under Community law brought with it a corollary right for his mother to reside there as well.
The legislative organs of the union cannot make laws which allow private sector organisations to discriminate on the grounds of gender even if such discrimination is based on relevant and accurate actuarial and statistical data.
- Minister voor Immigratie en Asiel C-199/12  720
Law of the institutions
- Mandelli 3/67  ECR 25
Acts of the European institutions must be supported by sufficient reasoning, the validity of which shall be examined by the Court.
- Variola 34/73  ECR 981
- Roquette Frères v Council 138/79  ECR 3333
- Germany v Commission 24/62  ECR 131
- Tariff Preferences case 45/86  ECR 1493
- Beus 5/67  ECR 83
- Tobacco Advertising case C-376/98  ECR I-8419
- Opinion 2/94  ECR I-1759
The European Community does not have the power under the treaties to accede to the European Convention on Human Rights.
- Parliament v Council C-65/93  ECR I-643
- Plaumann v Commission 25/62  ECR 199
The Plaumann test sets out the criteria for non-privileged applicants to prove individual concern: 'Applicants must show that the decision affects them by reason of certain attributes which are peculiar to them or by reason of circumstances in which they are differentiated from all other persons and by virtue of these factors distinguishes them individually just as in the case of the person addressed.'
- Codorníu v Council C-309/89  ECR I-1853
In this case the court took a more liberal approach than the restrictive Plaumann test for establishing individual concern, which was, however, not followed in judgements thereafter.
Article 186 of the Treaty of Rome stated that the Court "may, in any cases referred to it, make any necessary interim order". Article 39 of the Treaty of Nice's Protocol on the Statute of the Court of Justice (2001) states that "the President of the Court may, by way of summary procedure ... prescribe interim measures in pursuance of Article 243 of the EC Treaty or Article 158 of the EAEC Treaty".
In Commission of the European Communities v Kingdom of Belgium (1994), the President dismissed an application for interim measures submitted by the Commission on 11 March 1994 because the Commission had "not displayed the diligence to be expected". The Commission had been aware of an alleged breach of the procurement directives in October 1993, and had referred on 8 February 1994 to its "intention" to seek the suspension of a public supplies contract, but did not apply for an interim order until 11 March 1994.
- Simba Toys T-450/09  983
- Anti-competitive behaviour and concerted practices in the international air freight forwarding services market:
- Case C-186/83: Arie Botzen and others v Rotterdamsche Droogdok Maatschappij BV, leading case on the meaning of "assignment" in relation to the part of an undertaking or business to which [employees] are "assigned" to carry out [their] duties for purposes of the TUPE directive.
- Commission v Council (ERTA)  ECR 263
- External Trade
Intellectual property rights
- Joined cases C-446/09 and C-495/09 concerned the interpretation of EU legislation governing action by customs authorities against possible infringements of intellectual property rights when suspected goods were within the EU for "external transit" purposes.
- In SAS Institute Inc v World Programming Ltd. (C-406/10), the court ruled that copyright protection does not extend to software functionality, the programming language used, or the format of the data files used by a software program.
Free movement of goods
Definition of "goods"
- Commission v Italy ("Italian Art") 7/68  ECR 423
'Goods' are "products which can be valued in money and which are capable, as such, of forming the subject of commercial transactions".
- Commission v Belgium C-2/90  ECR I-4431
"Waste, whether recyclable or not, is to be regarded as 'goods'."
Customs duties and equivalent charges
Articles 23 and 25 EC prohibit as between Member States all "customs duties on imports and exports and of all charges having equivalent effect". The prohibition in Article 25 also applies to customs duties of a fiscal nature.
- Commission v Italy (`Italian statistical data´) 24/68  ECR 193
Customs charges are prohibited because "any pecuniary charge, however small, imposed on goods by reason of the fact that they cross a frontier constitutes an obstacle to the movement of such goods."
- Diamantarbeiders 2/69 and 3/69  ECR 211
A charge having equivalent effect to a customs duty is "any pecuniary charge however small and whatever its designation and mode of application which is imposed unilaterally on domestic or foreign goods by reason of the fact that they cross a frontier and which is not a customs duty in the strict sense." This is the case "even if it is not imposed for the benefit of the State [and] is not discriminatory or protective in effect, or if the product on which the charge is imposed is not in competition with any domestic product."
- Bresciani 87/75  ECR 129
Charges imposed for a public health inspection carried out on the entry of goods to a Member State can be a charge having equivalent effect to a customs duty. It was not important that the charges were proportionate to the costs of the inspection, nor that such inspections were in the public interest.
- Commission v Germany 18/87  ECR 5427
A charge for a service will not be regarded as a customs duty where it: (a) does not exceed the cost of the service, (b) that service is obligatory and applied uniformly for all the goods concerned, (c) the service fulfills obligations prescribed by Community law, and (d) the service promotes the free movement of goods in particular by neutralising obstacles which may arise from unilateral measures of inspection.
Article 110 EC prevents any Member State from imposing, "directly or indirectly, on the products of other Member States any internal taxation of any kind in excess of that imposed directly or indirectly on similar domestic products". This prohibition also extends to "internal taxation of such a nature as to afford indirect protection to other products".
- Humblot 112/84  ECR 1367
Article 34 EC bans "quantitative restrictions on imports and all measures having equivalent effect shall be prohibited between Member States", the same provision in respect of exports is found in Article 35 EC.
- Geddo v Ente 2/73  ECR 865
Quantitative restrictions are "measures which amount to a total or partial restraint of, according to the circumstances, imports, exports or goods in transit."
Measures having Equivalent effect to a Quantitative Restriction (MEQRs)
- Procureur du Roi v Dassonville 8/74  ECR 837
The following are prohibited as Measures having Equivalent effect to a Quantitative Restriction (MEQRs): "all trading rules enacted by Member States which are capable of hindering, directly or indirectly, actually or potentially, intra-Community trade."
- Commission v Ireland 249/81  ECR 4005
- Commission v UK 207/83  ECR 1201
Article 36 EC exempts quantitative restrictions which are justified on grounds of "public morality, public policy or public security; the protection of health and life of humans, animals or plants; the protection of national treasures possessing artistic, historic or archaeological value; or the protection of industrial and commercial property". The restrictions must not, in any case, "constitute a means of arbitrary discrimination or a disguised restriction on trade between Member States".
- Cassis de Dijon 120/78  ECR 649
- Henn and Darby 34/79  ECR 3795
- Keck and Mithouard C-267/91 and C-268/91  ECR I-6097
- Torfaen Borough Council C-145/88  ECR 3851
Free movement of persons
- Hoekstra 75/63  ECR 347
- Sotgiu 152/73  ECR 153
- Van Duyn 41/74  ECR 1337
- Levin 53/81  ECR 1035
- Lawrie-Blum 66/85  ECR 2121
- Bettray 344/87  ECR 1621
- Groener C-379/87  ECR 3967
- Antonissen C-292/89  ECR I-745
- Bosman C-415/93 ECR I-4921
- Angonese C-281/98  ECR I-4139
- Grzelczyk C-184/99  ECR I-6193
- Garcia Avello C-148/02  ECR I-11613
- Collins C-138/02  ECR I-2703
- Zhu and Chen C-200/02  ECR I-9925
- Metock and Others C-127/08  ECR I-6241
Freedom of establishment and to provide services
- Reyners 2/74  ECR 631
- Thieffry 71/76  ECR 765
- Factortame II C-221/89  ECR I-3905
- Vlassopoulou 340/89  ECR 2357
- Centros C-212/97  ECR I-1459
- Überseering C-208/00  ECR I-9919
- van Binsbergen 33/74  ECR 1299
- Cowan 186/87  ECR 195
- Rush Portuguesa C-113/89  ECR I-1417
- Gebhard C-55/94  ECR I-4165
- Bosman C-415/93 ECR I-4921
Jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments
- Car Trim GmbH v KeySafety Systems SrL (case C-381/08) and Electrosteel Europe sa v Edil Centro SpA, (case C-87/10): two linked cases regarding the place of "performance" of a contractual obligation, which may be used to determine the national court with jurisdiction in a civil or commercial matter. This will in general be the place of delivery in relation to a contract for the sale of goods. These cases looked at situations where goods were made available for delivery to a purchaser in another member state. The terms of the contract should first be considered to determine where "delivery" is to take place, but if this is not possible (not knowing which member state's substantive contract law is to apply), the place where goods are physically handed over to the purchaser or their agent will determine the place of performance.
- Pammer v. Karl Schlütter GmbH & Co. KG (case C-585/08) and Hotel Alpenhof v. Mr. Heller (case C-144/09), 2010: see Pammer and Alpenhof cases
- Case C-107/92 Commission v Italian Republic - an urgent need had arisen to construct an avalanche barrier in the Alpe Gallina region near Colle Isarco and Brenner in the South Tyrol, following publication of a geological report in June 1988 recommending in advance of the 1988-89 winter. The Italian government appointed a contractor without advertising in the Official Journal of the European Communities on the grounds of urgency, but the European Commission argued, and the Court agreed, that there was sufficient time to advertise the works opportunity under the accelerated procedure as defined in the Directive on Public Works Contracts (Directive 71/305).
- Case C-237/99 Commission v French Republic - ruled that the French public housing institutions, offices publics d'aménagement et de construction (OPAC, public development and construction entities) and societes anonymes habitations à loyer modéré (SA HTMs, low-rent housing corporations) met the criteria in the then-applicable public works contracts directive (Council Directive 93/37/EEC) for being treated as a "body governed by public law" according to article 1(b) of the directive:
- a body established for the specific purpose of meeting needs in the general interest, not having an industrial or commercial character,
- having legal personality, and
- financed, for the most part, by the State, or regional or local authorities, or other bodies governed by public law, or
- subject to management supervision by those bodies, or
- having an administrative, managerial or supervisory board, more than half of whose members are appointed by the State, regional or local authorities or by other bodies governed by public law.
- Accordingly they were subject to the obligation to publish relevant above-threshold contracts in the Official Journal of the European Communities.
- Case C-97/94: contracting authorities have "a degree of choice" as to which procurement procedure they follow for each procurement exercise, but "once they have issued an invitation to tender under one particular procedure, they are required to observe the rules applicable to it until the contract has been finally awarded". In this case, brought by the Commission of the European Communities against the Kingdom of Belgium, the Belgian government argued that although this tender for the supply of buses for public transport in the Walloon region had been issued using the "Open Procedure", the "negotiated procedure" could have been used instead. The court stated that subsequently changing the procedure in order to negotiate (or accept further post-tender information) was not permitted.
- Case C-552/13, Grupo Hospitalario Quirón SA v Departamento de Sanidad del Gobierno Vasco and Instituto de Religiosas Siervas de Jesús de la Caridad, confirmed that the 2004 Directive on Public Procurement did not permit a tender for medical services to state as a requirement that the proposed services must be provided within the boundaries of a particular locality, in this case the municipality of Bilbao. A more general proximity requirement in the specification, more easily justifiable, was not criticised by the court.
- Defrenne III C-149/77  ECR 1365: the scope of article 119 does not extend beyond equal pay, but the elimination of sex discrimination is a fundamental principle of Community law.
- Bundesdruckerei v. Stadt Dortmund, Case C-549/13: the City of Dortmund could not require tenderers for a document digitalisation contract to commit to paying German minimum wage levels to the workforce when they were intending to sub-contract the performance of the contract to a firm based in Poland outside the scope of the German minimum wage law.
- Francovich and Bonifaci C-6/90 and C-9/90  ECR I-5357
- Brasserie du Pêcheur / Factortame III C-46/93 and C-48/93  ECR I-1029
- British Telecom C-392/93  ECR I-1631
- Faccini Dori C-91/92  ECR I-3325
- Köbler C-224/01  ECR I-10239
- ClientEarth C-404/13  2382
- Elisabeta Dano and Florin Dano C-333/13  2358
Value added tax
- C-97/90 - Lennartz v Finanzamt München III: reference for a preliminary ruling on VAT paid on the purchase of capital goods.
- Axel Kittel & Recolta Recycling SPRL (cases C-439/04 and C-440/04, issued 6 July 2006) (known as Kittel), a missing trader fraud case. Under the Kittel ruling, "the right to claim input tax could be denied to anyone in the supply chain if the trader knew or should have known that their transactions were connected with VAT fraud".
The three main cases on VAT groups are:
- Case C-162/07, Ampliscientifica and Amplifin v. Ministero dell’Economia e delle Finanze, (2008, Italy) ECR I-4019
- Case C-7/13 Skandia America Corp (USA) v. Skatteverket (the Swedish Tax Agency), 14 September 2014
- Cases C-108/14 and C-109/14 (conjoined), Larentia + Minerva and Marenave, 16 July 2015
Fifty-seven pre-accession cases
The following is the official list of fifty-seven cases that were translated in preparation for new member states who joined the European Union in 2004. The list below contains fifty case names, because some cases were joined.
- NV Algemene Transport- en Expeditie Onderneming van Gend & Loos v Nederlandse administratie der belastingen (1963) Case 26/62
- Plaumann & Co. v Commission (1963) Case 25/62
- Flaminio Costa v E.N.E.L. (1964) Case 6/64
- Établissements Consten S.à.R.L. and Grundig-Verkaufs-GmbH v Commission (1966) Case 56-58/64
- Commission v Council (1971) Case 22/70
- Aktien-Zuckerfabrik Schöppenstedt v Council (1971) Case 5/71
- Jean Reyners v Belgian State (1974) Case 2/74
- Procureur du Roi v Benoît in Gustave Dassonville (1974) Case 8/74
- Yvonne van Duyn v Home Office (1974) Case 41/74
- Gabrielle Defrenne v Société anonyme belge de navigation aérienne Sabena (1976) Case 43/75
- Amministrazione delle Finanze dello Stato v Simmenthal SpA (1978) Case 106/77
- Rewe-Zentral AG v Bundesmonopolverwaltung für Branntwein (1979) Case 120/78
- Liselotte Hauer v Land Rheinland-Pfalz (1979) Case 44/79
- SA Roquette Frères v Council (1980) Case 138/79
- Commission v Belgium (1980) Case 149/79
- Ursula Becker v Finanzamt Münster-Innenstadt (1982) Case 8/81
- France, Italy and United Kingdom v Commission (1982) Cases 188-190/80
- Srl CILFIT et Lanificio di Gavardo SpA v Ministero della sanità (1982) Case 283/81
- Sabine von Colson in Elisabeth Kamann v Land Nordrhein-Westfalen (1984) Case 14/83
- Parti écologiste “Les Verts” v Parliament (1986) Case 294/83
- Marguerite Johnston v Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (1986) Case 222/84
- Commission v Germany (1987) Case 178/84
- Commission v Council (1987) Case 45/86
- Foto-Frost v Hauptzollamt Lübeck-Ost (1987) Case 314/85
- Pascal Van Eycke v Société anonyme ASPA (1988) Case 267/86
- Hoechst AG v Commission (1989) Cases 46/87 and 227/88
- Parliament v Council (1990) Case C-70/88
- R v Secretary of State for Transport, ex parte Factortame Ltd (1990) Case C-213/89
- Zuckerfabrik Süderdithmarschen AG v Hauptzollamt Itzehoe and Zuckerfabrik Soest GmbH v Hauptzollamt Paderborn (1991) C-143/88 in C-92/89
- Andrea Francovich in Danila Bonifaci v Italy (1991) C-6/90 in C-9/90
- Opinion of the Court under article 288 (1991) Opinion 1/91
- Telemarsicabruzzo SpA v Circostel in Ministero delle Poste e Telecomunicazioni in Ministero della Difesa (1993) C-320/90, C-321/90 in C-322/90
- Bernard Keck and Daniel Mithouard (1993) C-267/91 and C-268/91
- Paola Faccini Dori v Recreb Srl (1994) Case C-91/92
- Competence of the Community to conclude international agreements concerning services and the protection of intellectual property (1994) Opinion 1/94
- Alpine Investments BV v Minister van Financiën (1995) Case C-384/93
- Reinhard Gebhard v Consiglio dell'Ordine degli Avvocati e Procuratori di Milano (1995) Case C-55/94
- Union royale belge des sociétés de football association ASBL v Jean-Marc Bosman (1995) Case C-415/93
- Brasserie du Pêcheur SA v Bundesrepublik Deutschland and R v Secretary of State for Transport, ex parte: Factortame Ltd (1996) C-46/93 and C-48/93
- Community accession to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (1996) Opinion 2/94
- CIA Security International SA v Signalson SA and Securitel SPRL (1996) Case C-194/94
- Hellmut Marschall v Land Nordrhein-Westfalen (1997) Case C-409/95
- Commission v France (1997) Case C-265/95
- Inter-Environnement Wallonie ASBL v Région wallonne (1997) Case C-129/96
- María Martínez Sala v Freistaat Bayern (1998) Case C-85/96
- A. Racke GmbH & Co. v Hauptzollamt Mainz (1998) Case C-162/96
- Centros Ltd v Erhvervs- og Selskabsstyrelsen (1999) Case C-212/97
- Albany International BV v Stichting Bedrijfspensioenfonds Textielindustrie (1999) Case C-67/96
- Dieter Krombach v André Bamberski (2000) Case C-7/98
- Germany v Parliament (2000) Case C-376/98
- See also Marshall v Southampton Health Authority
- Article 186
- Protocol on the Statute of the Court of Justice, accessed 27 January 2021
- EUR-Lex, Commission of the European Communities v Kingdom of Belgium, Order of the President, Case C-87/94 R, 22 April 1994, accessed 28 January 2021
- Court of Justice of the European Union, The Court of Justice upholds the fines imposed by the Commission on a number of companies for their participation in cartels in the international air freight forwarding services sector, Press Release 09/18, published 1 February 2018, accessed 1 February 2021
- Personnel Today, TUPE test cases serve as good employer guideline, published 27 July 2004, accessed 7 March 2021
- Court of Justice, The Court specifies the conditions under which goods coming from non-member States that are imitations or copies of goods protected in the EU by intellectual property rights may be detained by the customs authorities of the Member States, Philips Electronics NV v Lucheng Meijing Industrial Company Ltd. and others; and Nokia Corporation v Her Majesty’s Commissioners of Revenue and Customs, 1 December 2011, accessed 7 February 2021
- EU Pillar, C-381/08 Car Trim GmbH v KeySafety Systems Srl (Fourth Chamber) [2010 ECR I-01255], University of Aberdeen, accessed 10 February 2021
- EUR-Lex, Judgment of the Court, 2 August 1993, in Case C-107/92, accessed 8 March 2021
- EUR-Lex, Council Directive 93/37/EEC of 14 June 1993 concerning the coordination of procedures for the award of public works contracts, accessed 19 February 2021 Text was copied from this source, which is available under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
- InfoCuria, Commission of the European Communities v French Republic, delivered 1 February 2001, accessed 19 February 2021
- European Court of Justice, Commission of the European Communities v Kingdom of Belgium: Judgment of the Court, Case C-87/94, 25 April 1996, accessed 28 January 2021
- European Court of Justice, Case C-552/13, Grupo Hospitalario Quirón SA v Departamento de Sanidad del Gobierno Vasco and Instituto de Religiosas Siervas de Jesús de la Caridad, published 22 October 2015, accessed 10 March 2021
- Smith, R., Specifying location requirements, Local Government Lawyer, published 19 November 2015, accessed 18 March 2021
- C-413/17 - Roche Lietuva, 25 October 2018, accessed 5 March 2021
- Case C-149/77, Gabriellc Defrenne v Société Anonyme Belge de Navigation Aérienne Sabena, 15 June 1978, accessed 28 January 2021
- Case C-549/13 Bundesdruckerei GmbH v. Stadt Dortmund, 18 September 2014, accessed 28 January 2021
- C-97/90 - Lennartz v Finanzamt München III, published 11 July 1991, accessed 26 March 2021
- This article incorporates text published under the British Open Government Licence: HMRC, Advice on applying supply chain due diligence principles to assure your labour supply chains, updated 31 December 2020, accessed 16 March 2021
- Simpson, P., VAT Groups: recent cases and proposals for reform, Old Square Tax Chambers, 1 March 2016, accessed 30 January 2021
- Official list of 57 cases on curia.europa.eu
- Blanquet, Marc; Boulois, Jean (2002). Les grands arrêts de la jurisprudence communautaire. Paris, France: Dalloz. ISBN 978-2-247-04290-6.
- Becht, Marco, Mayer, Colin and Wagner, Hannes F., "Where Do Firms Incorporate? Deregulation and the Cost of Entry" (August 2007). ECGI – Law Working Paper No. 70/2006 (documents effect of Centros and Überseering decisions on incorporation mobility of companies)