Back on 11 September 2014 (how time flies !) the Court of Justice handed down an interesting judgment in Case C-112/13 A v B and Others in a rather unusual case. It dealt with the role – and duty – of the national court when faced with national legislation which seemed incompatible with both EU law and with the national constitution.
Indeed, the Court of Justice had some really interesting to say about how national courts should ensure the primacy of EU law. It builds on the important judgment in Melki and Abdeli C‑188/10 and C‑189/10, EU:C:2010:363. The case turned on substance on the interpretation of Council Regulation (EC) no 44/2001 of 22 December 2000 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters. I won’t deal with the substance issues, leaving them to our friends at the excellent Conflict of Laws blog. Just the primacy issue here.
The Court of Justice’s recent judgment in Joined Cases C-129/13 and C-130/13 Kamino International Logistics EU:C:2014:2041 deals with three important aspects of how national and EU law interact:
- Whether the principle of respect for the rights of the defence by the national authorities and the resulting right of every person to be heard before the adoption of any decision liable adversely to affect his interests, when those national authorities act as required by EU law, may be relied on directly by individuals before national courts.
- Whether the principle of respect for the rights of the defence and, in particular, the right of every person to be heard before the adoption of an adverse individual measure means that the rights of defence of the addressee of an adverse decision, are infringed if he has not been heard by the authorities before the adoption of the decision, even though he may express his views during a subsequent administrative objection stage.
- Whether the legal consequences of infringements by the authorities of the principle of respect for the rights of the defence are governed by national law and what circumstances may be taken into account by the national court in the context of its review. In particular, may the national court take into consideration whether the result of the decision-making process would have been the same, had the right to be heard before it been observed ?
The Court of Justice’s judgment in Case C-557/12 Kone AG and Others v ÖBB-Infrastruktur AG is an important landmark in reinforcing the efficacy of EU antitrust law. The Court holds that Member States cannot block claims for compensation by victims of “umbrella pricing”, that is to say setting of higher prices by non-cartel members as a result of a cartel. Continue reading