List of European Court of Justice Rulings
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List of European Court of Justice Rulings

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The following is a list of notable judgments of the European Court of Justice.

Principles of Union Law

Direct effect

Treaties, Regulations and Decisions

"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 [1970] ECR-825
  • Commission v Italy 39/72 [1973] ECR 101
  • Reyners 2/74 [1974] ECR 631
  • Defrenne II [1976] ECR 455
  • Amsterdam Bulb 50/76 [1977] 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 [1987] ECR 3697
  • Azienda Agricola C-403/98 [2001] ECR I-103
  • Steinberg T-17/10 [2012] 625
  • Sharif University T-181/13 [2014] 607


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 [1982] ECR 53
  • von Colson 14/83 [1984] ECR 1891
  • Kolpinghuis Nijmegen 80/86 [1987] 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 [1989] ECR 1839
  • Foster C-188/89 [1990] ECR I-3313
  • Marshall v Southampton and South-West Hampshire Area Health Authority Case 152/84 [1986] ECR I-4367 [1]
  • Faccini Dori C-91/92 [1994] ECR I-3325
  • CIA Security C-194/94 [1996] ECR I-2201
  • Arcaro C-168/95 [1996] 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 [2000] ECR I-7535


Community law takes precedence over the Member States own domestic law.

  • Simmenthal II 106/77 [1978] ECR 629

Duty to set aside provisions of national law which are incompatible with Community law.

National law must be interpreted and applied, insofar as possible, so as to avoid a conflict with a Community rule.

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

"[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."

Fundamental rights

  • Stauder 29/69 [1969] ECR 419

"Fundamental rights [are] enshrined in the general principles of Community law and protected by the Court."

  • Internationale Handelsgesellschaft 11/70 [1970] ECR 1125

Fundamental rights are an integral part of the general principles of law the observance of which the Court ensures.

  • Nold 4/73 [1974] 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 [2002] 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 [2013] 720

Law of the institutions


  • Mandelli 3/67 [1968] ECR 25

Acts of the European institutions must be supported by sufficient reasoning, the validity of which shall be examined by the Court.

Legislative process

  • Variola 34/73 [1973] ECR 981
  • Roquette Frères v Council 138/79 [1980] ECR 3333
  • Germany v Commission 24/62 [1963] ECR 131
  • Tariff Preferences case 45/86 [1987] ECR 1493
  • Beus 5/67 [1968] ECR 83
  • Tobacco Advertising case C-376/98 [2000] ECR I-8419
  • Opinion 2/94 [1996] 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 [1995] ECR I-643


  • Plaumann v Commission 25/62 [1963] 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 [1994] 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.

Internal market

Free movement of goods

Definition of "goods"

  • Commission v Italy ("Italian Art") 7/68 [1968] 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 [1992] 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 [1969] 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 [1969] 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 [1976] 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 [1988] 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.

Indirect taxation

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 [1985] ECR 1367

Quantitative restrictions

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 [1973] 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."


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 [1982] ECR 4005
  • Commission v UK 207/83 [1985] 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 [1979] ECR 649
  • Henn and Darby 34/79 [1979] ECR 3795
  • Keck and Mithouard C-267/91 and C-268/91 [1993] ECR I-6097
  • Torfaen Borough Council C-145/88 [1989] ECR 3851

Free movement of persons


  • Hoekstra 75/63 [1964] ECR 347
  • Sotgiu 152/73 [1974] ECR 153
  • Van Duyn 41/74 [1974] ECR 1337
  • Levin 53/81 [1982] ECR 1035
  • Lawrie-Blum 66/85 [1986] ECR 2121
  • Bettray 344/87 [1989] ECR 1621
  • Groener C-379/87 [1989] ECR 3967
  • Antonissen C-292/89 [1991] ECR I-745
  • Bosman C-415/93[1995] ECR I-4921
  • Angonese C-281/98 [2000] ECR I-4139


  • Grzelczyk C-184/99 [2001] ECR I-6193
  • Garcia Avello C-148/02 [2003] ECR I-11613
  • Collins C-138/02 [2004] ECR I-2703
  • Zhu and Chen C-200/02 [2004] ECR I-9925
  • Metock and Others C-127/08 [2008] ECR I-6241

Freedom of establishment and to provide services


  • Reyners 2/74 [1974] ECR 631
  • Thieffry 71/76 [1977] ECR 765
  • Factortame II C-221/89 [1991] ECR I-3905
  • Vlassopoulou 340/89 [1991] ECR 2357
  • Centros C-212/97 [1999] ECR I-1459
  • Überseering C-208/00 [2002] ECR I-9919


  • van Binsbergen 33/74 [1974] ECR 1299
  • Cowan 186/87 [1989] ECR 195
  • Rush Portuguesa C-113/89 [1990] ECR I-1417
  • Gebhard C-55/94 [1995] ECR I-4165
  • Bosman C-415/93[1995] ECR I-4921


  • Simba Toys T-450/09 [2014] 983

External Relations

  • Commission v Council (ERTA) [1971] ECR 263
    • External Trade

State liability

  • Francovich and Bonifaci C-6/90 and C-9/90 [1991] ECR I-5357
  • Brasserie du Pêcheur / Factortame III C-46/93 and C-48/93 [1996] ECR I-1029
  • British Telecom C-392/93 [1996] ECR I-1631
  • Faccini Dori C-91/92 [1994] ECR I-3325
  • Köbler C-224/01 [2003] ECR I-10239
  • ClientEarth C-404/13 [2014] 2382
  • Elisabeta Dano and Florin Dano C-333/13 [2014] 2358

Social policy

  • Defrenne III 149/77 [1978] 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.

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.[2] The list below contains fifty case names, because some cases were joined.


  1. ^ see also Marshall v Southampton Health Authority
  2. ^ Official list of 57 cases on


  • 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)

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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