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Table of Contents

  1. Acknowledgments
  2. Chapter one: Defining the constitution
  3. Chapter two: Parliamentary sovereignty
  4. Chapter three: The rule of law and the separation of powers
  5. Chapter four: The royal prerogative
  6. Chapter five: The House of Commons
  7. Chapter six: The House of Lords
  8. Chapter seven: The electoral system
  9. Chapter eight: Parliamentary privilege
  10. Chapter nine: Constitutional conventions
  11. Chapter ten: Local government
  12. Chapter eleven: Parliamentary sovereignty within the European Union
    1. Van Gend en Loos v Nederlandse Tariefcommissie (case 26/62) [1963] ECR 1.
    2. Costa v ENEL (case 6/64) [1964] ECR 585 - ECJ
    3. Costa v ENEL (case 6/64) [1964] ECR 585 - Italian Constitutional Court
    4. Franz Grad v Finanzamt Traunstein (case 9/70) [1970] ECR 825
    5. Politi SAS. v Ministry for Finance of the Italian Republic (Case 43-71) [1971] ECR 1039.
    6. Internationale Handelsgesellchaft mbH v Einfuhr- & Vorratsstelle fur Getreide & Futtermittel (Case 11/70) [1970] ECR 1125; before the ECJ
    7. Syndicat Generale des Fabricants de Semoules [1970] CMLR 395 - (French Conseil d'Etat)
    8. Internationale Handelsgesellchaft mbH v Einfuhr- & Vorratsstelle fur Getreide & Futtermittel (Solange I) [1974] 2 CMLR; (German Federal Constitutional Court)
    9. Minister for Economic Affairs v SA Fromagerie Franco-Suisse 'Le Ski' [1972] CMLR 330; before the Belgian Cour de Cassation
    10. Administration des Dounaes v Societe Cafes Jacques Vebre Jacques Vabres [1975] 2 CMLR 336 - before the French Cour de Cassation
    11. Frontini v Minister delle Finanze [1974] 2 CMLR 372 (Italian Constitutional Court)
    12. Blackburn v Attorney-General [1971] 2 All ER 1380
    13. European Communities Act 1972
    14. Van Duyn v The Home Office (case 41/74) [1974] ECR 1337.
    15. Walrave v Koch (case 36/74) [1974] ECR 1405
    16. DeFrenne v Sabeena (case 43/75) [1976] ECR 455
    17. Administrazione Dealla Finanze dello Stato v Simmenthal (case 106/77) [1978] ECR 629
    18. Minister of the Interior v Daniel Cohn-Bendit [1980] 1 CMLR 543; (before the French Conseil D'Etat)
    19. Macarthys Ltd v Smith [1979] 3 All ER 325
    20. Garland v British Rail Engineering Ltd [1982] 2 All ER 402
    21. Marshall v Southampton Area Health Authority (case 152/84) [1986] ECR 723; [1986] 1 CMLR 688.
    22. Von Colson and Kamann v Land Nordrhein-Westfalen (case 14/83) [1984] ECR 1891
    23. On the Application of Wunsche Handelsgesellschaft (Solange II) [1987] 3 CMLR 225; before the German Federal Constitutional Court
    24. Marleasing SA v La Commercial Internacional de Alimentacion SA (case C-106/89) [1990] ECR I-4135
    25. Francovich and Bonifaci v Italy (cases 6/90 and 9/90) [1991] ECR I-5357; [1993] 2 CMLR 66
    26. Duke v GEC Reliance Ltd [1988] 1 All ER 626
    27. Litster and others v Forth Dry Dock and Engineering Co Ltd and another [1989] 1 All ER 1134
    28. Factortame Ltd and others v Secretary of State for Transport [1989] 2 All ER 692
    29. Factortame Ltd and others v Secretary of State for Transport (No 2) (Case C-213/89) [1991] 1 All ER 70
    30. R v Secretary of State for Transport, ex parte Factortame (no.2) [1991] 1 All ER 70 (House of Lords)
    31. Thoburn v Sunderland City Council and other appeals [2002] EWHC 195 Admin; [2003] QB 151; [2002] 4 All ER 156
  13. Chapter twelve: The governance of Scotland and Wales
  14. Chapter thirteen: Substantive grounds of judicial review 1: illegality, irrationality and proportionality
  15. Chapter fourteen: Procedural grounds of judicial review
  16. Chapter fifteen: Challenging governmental decisions: the process
  17. Chapter sixteen: Locus standi
  18. Chapter seventeen: Human rights I: Traditional perspectives
  19. Chapter eighteen: Human rights II: Emergent principles
  20. Chapter nineteen: Human rights III: New substantive grounds of review
  21. Chapter twenty: Human rights IV: The Human Rights Act 1998
  22. Chapter twenty-one: Human rights V: The impact of The Human Rights Act 1998
  23. Chapter twenty-two: Human rights VI: Governmental powers of arrest and detention
  24. Chapter twenty-three: Leaving the European Union

Francovich and Bonifaci v Italy (cases 6/90 and 9/90) [1991] ECR I-5357; [1993] 2 CMLR 66

[28]...[T]he national court seeks to determine whether a Member State is obliged to make good loss and damage suffered by individuals as a result of the failure to transpose Directive 80/987.

[29] The national court thus raises the issue of the existence and scope of a State's liability for loss and damage resulting from breach of its obligations under Community law.

[30] That issue must be considered in the light of the general system of the Treaty and its fundamental principles.

(a) The existence of State liability as a matter of principle

[31] It must be recalled first of all that the EEC Treaty has created its own legal system which is an integral part of the legal systems of the Member States and which their courts are bound to apply; the subjects of that legal system are not only the Member States, but also their nationals. Just as it imposes obligations on individuals, Community law is also intended to create rights which become part of their legal patrimony; those rights arise not only where they are expressly granted by the Treaty but also by virtue of obligations which the Treaty imposes in a clearly defined manner both on individuals and on the Member States and the Community institutions (see the judgments in Case 26/62 Van Gend en Loos [19631 ECR 1 and Case 6/64 Costa v ENEL [1964] ECR 585).

[32] Furthermore, it has been consistently held that the national courts whose task it is to apply the provisions of Community law in areas within their jurisdiction must ensure that those rules take full effect and must protect the rights which they confer on individuals (see in particular the judgments in Case 106/77 Amministrazzione delle Finanze dello Stato v Simmenthal [1978] ECR 629, paragraph 16, and Case C-213/89 Factortame [1990] ECR I-2433, paragraph 19.

[33] The full effectiveness of Community rules would be impaired and the protection of the rights which they grant would be weakened if individuals were unable to obtain redress when their rights are infringed by a breach of Community law for which a Member State can be held responsible.

[34] The possibility of obtaining redress from the Member State is particularly indispensable where, as in this case, the full effectiveness of Community rules is subject to prior action on the part of the State and where, consequently, in the absence of such action, individuals cannot enforce before the national courts the rights conferred upon them by Community law.

[35] It follows that the principle whereby a State must be liable for loss and damage caused to individuals as a result of breaches of Community law for which the State can be held responsible is inherent in the system of the Treaty.

[36] A further basis for the obligation of Member States to make good such loss and damage is to be found in Article 5 of the Treaty, under which the Member States are required to take all appropriate measures, whether general or particular, to ensure fulfillment of their obligations under Community law. Among these is the obligation to nullify the unlawful consequences of a breach of Community law (see, in relation to the analogous provision of Article 86 of the ECSC Treaty, the judgment in Case 6/60 Humblet v Belgium [1960] ECR 559).

[37] It follows from all the foregoing that it is a principle of Community law that the Member States are obliged to make good loss and damage caused to individuals by breaches of Community law for which they are responsible.

(b) The conditions for State liability

[38] Although State liability is thus required by Community law, the conditions under which that liability gives rise to a right to reparation depend on the nature of the breach of Community law giving rise to the loss and damage.

[39] Where, as in this case, a Member State fails to fulfill its obligation under the third paragraph of Article 189 of the Treaty to take all the measures necessary to achieve the result prescribed by a directive, the full effectiveness of that rule of Community law requires that there should be a right to reparation provided that three conditions are fulfilled.

[40] The first of those conditions is that the result prescribed by the directive should entail the grant of rights to individuals. The second condition is that it should be possible to identify the content of those rights on the basis of the provisions of the directive. Finally, the third condition is the existence of a causal link between the breach of the State's obligation and the loss and damage suffered by the injured parties.

[41] Those conditions are sufficient to give rise to a right on the part of individuals to obtain reparation, a right founded directly on Community law.

[42] Subject to that reservation, it is on the basis of the rules of national law on liability that the State must make reparation for the consequences of the loss and damage caused. In the absence of Community legislation, it is for the internal legal order of each Member State to designate the competent courts and lay down the detailed procedural rules for legal proceedings intended fully to safeguard the rights which individuals derive from Community law (see the judgments in Case 60/75 Russo v AIAM [1976] ECR 45, Case 33/76 Rewe v Landwirstschaftskammer Saarland [1976] ECR 1989 and Case 158/80 Rewe v Hauptzollamt Kiel [1981] ECR 1805.

[43] Further, the substantive and procedural conditions for reparation of loss and damage laid down by the national law of the Member States must not be less favourable than those relating to similar domestic claims and must not be so framed as to make it virtually impossible or excessively difficult to obtain reparation (see, in relation to the analogous issue of the repayment of taxes levied in breach of Community law, inter alia the judgment in Case 199/82 Amministrazione delle Finanze dello Stato v San Giorgio [1983] ECR 3595).

[44] In this case, the breach of Community law by a Member State by virtue of its failure to transpose Directive 80/987 within the prescribed period has been confirmed by a judgment of the Court. The result required by that directive entails the grant to employees of a right to a guarantee of payment of their unpaid wage claims. As is clear from the examination of the first part of the first question, the content of that right can be identified on the basis of the provisions of the directive.

[45] Consequently, the national court must, in accordance with the national rules on liability, uphold the right of employees to obtain reparation of loss and damage caused to them as a result of failure to transpose the directive,

[46] The answer to be given to the national court must therefore be that a Member State is required to make good loss and damage caused to individuals by failure to transpose Directive 80/987.