List of European Court of Justice rulings

List of European Court of Justice rulings

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

Principles of Community Law


* Costa v ENEL 6/64 [1964] ECR 585Community law takes precedence over the Member States own domestic law.

*Simmenthal II 106/77 [1978] ECR 629Duty to set aside provisions of national law which are incompatible with Community law.

*Marleasing C-106/89 ECR I-7321National law must be interpreted and applied, insofar as possible, so as to avoid a conflict with a Community rule.

*Factortame I C-213/89 [1990] ECR I-2433Duty 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.

Direct effect

Treaties, Regulations and Decisions

* Van Gend en Loos 26/62 [1963] 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".

* 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

* Zaera 126/86 [1987] ECR 3697

* Azienda Agricola C-403/98 [2001] ECR I-103


* Van Duyn 41/74 [1974] ECR 1337

* Ratti 148/78 [1979] ECR 1629

* Becker 8/81 [1982] ECR 53

* von Colson 14/83 [1984] ECR 1891

* Kolpinghuis Nijmegen 80/86 [1987] ECR 3969

* Fratelli Costanzo 103/88 [1989] ECR 1839

* Foster C-188/89 [1990] ECR I-3313

* Marshall C-271/91 [1993] ECR I-4367

* 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

* Unilever Italia C-443/98 [2000] ECR I-7535

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 1125When 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.

* Nold 4/73 [1974] ECR 491Fundamental rights are an integral part of the general principles of law the observance of which the Court ensures.

* Carpenter C-60/00 [2002] ECR I-6279

Law of the institutions


*Mandelli 3/67 [1968] ECR 25Acts 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-1759The 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

* Codorníu v Council C-309/89 [1994] ECR I-1853

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-4431Waste is capable of forming the subject of a commercial transaction.

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 24/68 [1969] ECR 193Customs 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 211A 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 129Charges 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 5427A 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 90 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 28 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 29 EC.

* Geddo v Ente 2/73 [1973] ECR 865Quantitative restrictions are "measures which amount to a total or partial restraint of, according to the circumstances, imports, exports or goods in transit."


*Dassonville8/74 [1974] ECR 837The 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 30 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

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


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

Social policy

*Defrenne III 149/77 [1978] ECR 1365The scope of article 119 does not extent beyond equal pay, but the elimination of sex discrimination is a fundamental principle of Community law.


Further reading

[ 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)

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