Danske Slagterier v Bundesrepublik Deutschland.

JurisdictionEuropean Union
CourtCourt of Justice (European Union)
Writing for the CourtBorg Barthet
ECLIECLI:EU:C:2009:178
Celex Number62006CJ0445
Docket NumberC-445/06
Procedure TypeReference for a preliminary ruling
Date24 March 2009

Case C-445/06

Danske Slagterier

v

Bundesrepublik Deutschland

(Reference for a preliminary ruling from the Bundesgerichtshof)

(Measures having equivalent effect – Animal health – Intra-Community trade – Fresh meat – Veterinary checks – Non-contractual liability of a Member State – Limitation period – Determination of the loss or damage)

Summary of the Judgment

1. Agriculture – Approximation of laws on animal health – Intra-Community trade in fresh meat – Veterinary checks – Directives 64/433 and 89/662 – Incorrect transposition and application – Obligation on the Member State to make good damage caused to individuals

(Art. 28 EC; Council Directive 64/433, as amended by Directive 91/497, and Council Directive 89/662)

2. Community law – Rights conferred on individuals – Breach by a Member State – Obligation to make good damage caused to individuals

3. Community law – Rights conferred on individuals – Breach by a Member State – Obligation to make good damage caused to individuals

(Art. 226 EC)

4. Community law – Rights conferred on individuals – Breach by a Member State of the obligation to transpose a directive – Obligation to make good damage caused to individuals

5. Community law – Rights conferred on individuals – Breach by a Member State – Obligation to make good damage caused to individuals

(Arts 226 EC and 234 EC)

1. The principle of State liability 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. Individuals harmed have a right to reparation where three conditions are met: the rule of Community law infringed must be intended to confer rights on them; the breach of that rule must be sufficiently serious; and there must be a direct causal link between the breach and the loss or damage sustained by the individuals.

With regard to the first condition, Article 28 EC has direct effect in the sense that it confers on individuals rights upon which they are entitled to rely directly before the national courts and breach of that provision may give rise to reparation.

The right conferred by Article 28 EC is defined and given concrete expression by Directive 64/433 on health conditions for the production and marketing of fresh meat, as amended by Directive 91/497, and Directive 89/662 concerning veterinary checks in intra-Community trade with a view to the completion of the internal market. The free movement of goods is one of the objectives of those directives, which, through the elimination of the differences existing between the Member States with regard to health requirements for fresh meat, are designed to encourage intra-Community trade. In particular, the prohibition on the Member States’ preventing imports of fresh meat except where the goods do not meet the conditions laid down by Community directives or in certain very specific circumstances such as in the event of epidemics gives individuals the right to market in another Member State fresh meat that complies with the Community requirements.

It follows that individuals who have been harmed by the incorrect transposition and application of Directives 64/433 and 89/662 may rely on the right to the free movement of goods in order to be able to render the State liable for the breach of Community law.

(see paras 19-20, 22-24, 26, operative part 1)

2. 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. It is thus on the basis of the rules of national law on liability that the State must make reparation for the consequences of loss or damage caused to individuals by the breach of Community law, provided that the conditions, including time-limits, for reparation of loss or damage laid down by national law comply with the principles of equivalence and effectiveness.

As regards the latter principle, it is compatible with Community law to lay down reasonable time-limits for bringing proceedings in the interests of legal certainty. Such time-limits are not liable to make it in practice impossible or excessively difficult to exercise the rights conferred by Community law. In that regard, a national limitation period of three years appears to be reasonable.

However, in order to serve their purpose of ensuring legal certainty, limitation periods must be fixed in advance. A situation marked by significant legal uncertainty may involve a breach of the principle of effectiveness, because reparation of the loss or damage caused to individuals by breaches of Community law for which a Member State can be held responsible could be rendered excessively difficult in practice if the individuals were unable to determine the applicable limitation period with a reasonable degree of certainty. It is for the national court, taking account of all the features of the legal and factual situation at the material time, to determine, in light of the principle of effectiveness, whether the application by analogy of a time-limit laid down by a national rule to claims for reparation of loss or damage caused as a result of the breach of Community law by the Member State concerned was sufficiently foreseeable for individuals.

So far as concerns whether the application by analogy of such a time-limit is compatible with the principle of equivalence, it is likewise for the national court to determine whether, as a result of its application, the conditions for reparation of loss or damage caused to individuals by the breach of Community law by that Member State would have been less favourable than those applicable to the reparation of similar domestic loss or damage.

(see paras 31-35)

3. Where the Commission of the European Communities has brought infringement proceedings under Article 226 EC, Community law does not require the limitation period laid down by national legislation for a claim seeking reparation on account of State liability for breach of Community law to be interrupted or suspended during those proceedings.

The fact that institution of infringement proceedings does not have the effect of interrupting or suspending the limitation period does not make it impossible or excessively difficult for individuals to exercise the rights which they derive from Community law, given that an individual may bring an action seeking reparation under the detailed rules laid down for that purpose by national law without having to wait until a judgment finding that the Member State has infringed Community law has been delivered.

Furthermore, having regard to the specific features of proceedings under Article 226 EC compared with national procedural rules, national legislation which does not provide that the limitation period is interrupted or suspended when such proceedings have been brought by the Commission observes the principle of equivalence.

(see paras 39, 42, 45-46, operative part 2)

4. Community law does not preclude the limitation period applicable to an action for damages against the State for incorrect transposition of a directive from beginning to run on the date on which the first injurious effects of the incorrect transposition have been produced and the further injurious effects thereof are foreseeable, even if that date is prior to the correct transposition of the directive.

The fact that the limitation period laid down by national law begins to run on that date is not liable to make it in practice impossible or excessively difficult to exercise the rights conferred by Community law.

(see paras 49, 56, operative part 3)

5. Community law does not preclude the application of national legislation which lays down that an individual cannot obtain reparation for loss or damage which he has wilfully or negligently failed to avert by utilising a legal remedy, provided that utilisation of that remedy can reasonably be required of the injured party, a matter which is for the referring court to determine in light of all the circumstances of the main proceedings.

The likelihood that a national court will make a reference for a preliminary ruling under Article 234 EC or the existence of infringement proceedings pending before the Court of Justice cannot, in itself, constitute a sufficient reason for concluding that it is not reasonable to have recourse to a legal remedy.

First, the guidance obtained by a national court following a reference for a preliminary ruling facilitates its application of Community law, so that utilisation of that instrument of cooperation between the Court of Justice and the national courts does not in any way contribute to making it excessively difficult for individuals to exercise the rights which they derive from Community law. Accordingly, it would not be reasonable not to utilise a legal remedy solely because that remedy would be likely to give rise to a reference for a preliminary ruling.

Second, the procedure under Article 226 EC is entirely independent of national procedures and does not replace them. Infringement proceedings amount in fact to an objective review of legality in the general interest. Although the result of such proceedings may serve an individual’s interests, it none the less remains reasonable for him to avert the loss or damage by applying all the means available to him, that is to say utilising the available legal remedies.

(see paras 65, 67, 69, operative part 4)







JUDGMENT OF THE COURT (Grand Chamber)

24 March 2009 (*)

(Measures having equivalent effect – Animal health – Intra-Community trade – Fresh meat – Veterinary checks – Non-contractual liability of a Member State – Limitation period – Determination of the loss or damage)

In Case C‑445/06,

REFERENCE for a preliminary ruling under Article...

To continue reading

Request your trial
16 practice notes
  • Conclusiones del Abogado General Sr. M. Bobek, presentadas el 6 de febrero de 2019.
    • European Union
    • Court of Justice (European Union)
    • 6 February 2019
    ...et Factortame (C‑46/93 et C‑48/93, EU:C:1996:79, point 56). 41 Voir, par exemple, arrêt du 24 mars 2009, Danske Slagterier (C‑445/06, EU:C:2009:178 points 43 et 42 On ne saurait certes considérer que l’Union européenne et la Commission qui agit pour son compte sont titulaires de « droits in......
  • Gerardo Ruiz Zambrano v Office national de l’emploi (ONEm).
    • European Union
    • Court of Justice (European Union)
    • 8 March 2011
    ...527, [2004] ICR 137, [2002] ECR I-6191, ECJ. Dalia v France (1998) 33 EHRR 625, [1998] ECHR 26102/95, ECt HR. Danske Slagterier v Germany Case C-445/06 [2010] All ER (EC) 74, [2009] ECR I-2119, ECJ. Deutscher Apothekerverband eV v 0800 DocMorris NV Case C-322/01 (2003) 81 BMLR 33, [2003] EC......
  • B y otros contra Administration des contributions directes.
    • European Union
    • Court of Justice (European Union)
    • 14 May 2020
    ...difficoltà eccessive o non si potrebbe ragionevolmente esigerlo da loro (sentenze del 24 marzo 2009, Danske Slagterier, C‑445/06, EU:C:2009:178, punto 62, e del 25 novembre 2010, Fuß, C‑429/09, EU:C:2010:717, punto 70 Così, ai punti da 104 a 106 della sua sentenza dell’8 marzo 2001, Metallg......
  • Opinion of Advocate General Szpunar delivered on 9 December 2021.
    • European Union
    • Court of Justice (European Union)
    • 9 December 2021
    ...Anträge betreffend die Haftung des Staates für gesetzgeberisches Handeln zu entscheiden. 25 Urteil vom 24. März 2009, Danske Slagterier (C‑445/06, EU:C:2009:178, Rn. 26 Urteil vom 26. Januar 2010, Transportes Urbanos y Servicios Generales (C‑118/08, EU:C:2010:39, Rn. 38). 27 Es stuft diesen......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
18 cases
  • Opinion of Advocate General Kokott delivered on 5 May 2022.
    • European Union
    • Court of Justice (European Union)
    • 5 May 2022
    ...del 5 marzo 1996, Brasserie du pêcheur e Factortame (C‑46/93 e C‑48/93, EU:C:1996:79, punto 51), del 24 marzo 2009, Danske Slagterier (C‑445/06, EU:C:2009:178, punto 20), e del 10 dicembre 2020, Euromin Holdings (Cipro) (C‑735/19, EU:C:2020:1014, punto 79). 17 Sentenze del 19 novembre 1991,......
  • Conclusiones del Abogado General Sr. M. Bobek, presentadas el 6 de febrero de 2019.
    • European Union
    • Court of Justice (European Union)
    • 6 February 2019
    ...et Factortame (C‑46/93 et C‑48/93, EU:C:1996:79, point 56). 41 Voir, par exemple, arrêt du 24 mars 2009, Danske Slagterier (C‑445/06, EU:C:2009:178 points 43 et 42 On ne saurait certes considérer que l’Union européenne et la Commission qui agit pour son compte sont titulaires de « droits in......
  • ˮGrossmaniaˮ Mezőgazdasági Termelő és Szolgáltató Kft v Vas Megyei Kormányhivatal.
    • European Union
    • Court of Justice (European Union)
    • 10 March 2022
    ...5 March 1996, Brasserie du pêcheur and Factortame, C‑46/93 and C‑48/93, EU:C:1996:79, paragraph 51, and of 24 March 2009, Danske Slagterier, C‑445/06, EU:C:2009:178, paragraph 70 In the present case, first of all, Article 63 TFEU is intended to confer rights on individuals, in so far as it ......
  • Gerardo Ruiz Zambrano v Office national de l’emploi (ONEm).
    • European Union
    • Court of Justice (European Union)
    • 8 March 2011
    ...527, [2004] ICR 137, [2002] ECR I-6191, ECJ. Dalia v France (1998) 33 EHRR 625, [1998] ECHR 26102/95, ECt HR. Danske Slagterier v Germany Case C-445/06 [2010] All ER (EC) 74, [2009] ECR I-2119, ECJ. Deutscher Apothekerverband eV v 0800 DocMorris NV Case C-322/01 (2003) 81 BMLR 33, [2003] EC......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT