Italy had failed to implement Council Directive 80/987/EEC relating to the protection of employees in the event of the insolvency of their employer. F was an employee in a company which became insolvent and which owed him a substantial amount of unpaid salary which it was unable to pay. Under the Directive, Italy should have established a guarantee fund to ensure employees a certain minimum protection in cases such as this. F therefore sued in the Italian court for compensation from the Italian Government on the basis that it was at fault in not having implemented the Directive.

The ECJ decided that he could claim no effective rights as the provisions of the Directive lacked sufficient unconditionality.

The Tariefcommissie, a Dutch administrative tribunal, made a reference to the European Court under Art 177 Treaty of Rome (1957).

The constitutional principle here is that the European Community is a new legal order with sovereign powers.

The House of Lords had to consider, among other things, whether it had jurisdiction to declare a UK statute incompatible with EU law.

The Divisional Court had jurisdiction to declare that primary legislation was incompatible with Community law.

The House of Lords had to consider its jurisdiction to disapply the provisions of a UK statute which was incompatible with EU law.

Part II of the 1988 Act was unambiguous. If the court were to order the Secretary of State to treat F as entitled to registration and F were unable to prove they were entitled to registration in the European Court, interim relief would have given F rights which contravened parliamentary intention and deprived British fishing vessels of a proportion of the quotas available.

In four appeals the issue before the court concerned the introduction in accordance with the policy of the EU of compulsory systems of metric weights and measures.

The common law recognized a category of constitutional statutes, and the fundamental legal basis of the UK’s relationship with the EU rested with domestic rather than European legal powers.