Jean-E. Humblet v Belgian State.

JurisdictionEuropean Union
CourtCourt of Justice (European Union)
Writing for the CourtRiese
ECLIECLI:EU:C:1960:48
Procedure TypeRecours de fonctionnaires - non fondé
Celex Number61960CJ0006
Docket Number6/60
Date16 December 1960
EUR-Lex - 61960J0006 - EN 61960J0006

Judgment of the Court of 16 December 1960. - Jean-E. Humblet v Belgian State. - Case 6/60.

European Court reports
French edition Page 01125
Dutch edition Page 01169
German edition Page 01165
Italian edition Page 01095
English special edition Page 00559
Danish special edition Page 00207
Greek special edition Page 00543
Portuguese special edition Page 00545
Spanish special edition Page 00409
Swedish special edition Page 00047
Finnish special edition Page 00047


Summary
Parties
Subject of the case
Grounds
Decision on costs
Operative part

Keywords

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1 . INTERPRETATION - PROVISIONS ESTABLISHING GUARANTEES FOR THE PROTECTION OF RIGHTS - INTERPRETATION IN FAVOUR OF THE INDIVIDUAL CONCERNED .

2 . PROCEDURE - INTERPRETATION OR APPLICATION OF THE PROTOCOL ON THE PRIVILEGES AND IMMUNITIES OF THE ECSC - JURISDICTION OF THE COURT IN RELATION TO MEMBER STATES - LIMITS .

( ECSC TREATY, ARTICLES 31 AND 43; PROTOCOL ON THE PRIVILEGES AND IMMUNITIES OF THE ECSC, ARTICLE 16 )

3 . PROCEDURE - INTERPRETATION OR APPLICATION OF THE PROTOCOL ON THE PRIVILEGES AND IMMUNITIES OF THE ECSC - INFRINGEMENT OF THAT PROTOCOL BY A MEMBER STATE - RIGHT OF ACTION OF A COMMUNITY OFFICIAL WHO HAS BEEN PREJUDICED - PRIOR EXHAUSTION OF OTHER COMMUNITY PROCEDURES

( PROTOCOL ON THE PRIVILEGES AND IMMUNITIES OF THE ECSC, ARTICLE 16 )

4 . PROCEDURE - INTERPRETATION OR APPLICATION OF THE PROTOCOL ON THE PRIVILEGES AND IMMUNITIES OF THE ECSC - EXCLUSIVE NATURE OF THE COURT'S JURISDICTION - RIGHT OF ACTION - PRIOR EXHAUSTION OF RIGHTS OF RECOURSE TO NATIONAL COURTS .

( PROTOCOL ON THE PRIVILEGES AND IMMUNITIES OF THE ECSC, ARTICLE 16 )

5 . OFFICIALS OF THE ECSC - PRIVILEGES AND IMMUNITIES - EXEMPTION FROM TAXATION - INDIVIDUAL RIGHT

( PROTOCOL ON THE PRIVILEGES AND IMMUNITIES OF THE ECSC, ARTICLES 11 AND 13 ).

6 . OFFICIALS OF THE ECSC - PRIVILEGES AND IMMUNITIES - EXEMPTION FROM TAXATION - SCOPE - DETERMINATION OF THE RATE APPLICABLE TO OTHER INCOME - ASSESSMENT ON THE JOINT INCOME OF AN OFFICIAL OF THE ECSC AND OF HIS SPOUSE

( PROTOCOL ON THE PRIVILEGES AND IMMUNITIES OF THE ECSC, ARTICLE 11 )

7 . OBLIGATIONS OF THE MEMBER STATES - MEASURE BY A MEMBER STATE CONTRARY TO THE TREATY - RULING BY THE COURT - CONSEQUENCES

( ECSC TREATY, ARTICLE 86 )

Summary

1 . IN CASE OF DOUBT A PROVISION ESTABLISHING GUARANTEES FOR THE POTECTION OF RIGHTS CANNOT BE INTERPRETED IN A RESTRICTIVE MANNER TO THE DETRIMENT OF THE INDIVIDUAL CONCERNED .

2 . THE COURT'S JURISDICTION TO RULE ON ANY DISPUTE RELATING TO THE APPLICATION OF THE PROTOCOL ON THE PRIVILEGES AND IMMUNITIES OF THE ECSC DOES NOT ENABLE IT TO INTERFERE DIRECTLY IN THE LEGISLATION OR ADMINISTRATION OF THE MEMBER STATES . THEREFORE THE COURT CANNOT, ON ITS OWN AUTHORITY, ANNUL OR REPEAL LAWS OF A MEMBER STATE OR ADMINISTRATIVE MEASURES ADOPTED BY ITS AUTHORITIES .

3 . AN OFFICIAL OF THE ECSC WHO REGARDS HIMSELF AS PREJUDICED BY THE INFRINGEMENT BY A MEMBER STATE OF THE PRIVILEGES AND IMMUNITIES CONFERRED ON HIM MAY BRING AN ACTION AGAINST THAT STATE UNDER ARTICLE 16 OF THE PROTOCOL ON THE PRIVILEGES AND IMMUNITIES OF THE ECSC WITHOUT HAVING PREVIOUSLY EXHAUSTED OTHER PROCEDURES PROVIDED FOR BY COMMUNITY LAW .

4 . THE JURISDICTION OF THE COURT OF JUSTICE PROVIDED FOR BY ARTICLE 16 OF THE PROTOCOL ON THE PRIVILEGES AND IMMUNITIES OF THE ECSC IS EXCLUSIVE; AN APPLICATION BROUGHT UNDER THIS PROVISION IS NOT INADMISSIBLE MERELY BECAUSE THE APPLICANT HAS NOT EXHAUSTED HIS RIGHTS OF RECOURSE TO THE COURTS OF HIS OWN COUNTRY BEFOREHAND .

5 . THE PRIVILEGES AND IMMUNITIES OF OFFICIALS OF THE ECSC, IN PARTICULAR EXEMPTION FROM NATIONAL TAXES, ALTHOUGH PROVIDED IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST OF THE COMMUNITY, ARE GRANTED DIRECTLY TO THOSE OFFICIALS AND CONFER AN INDIVIDUAL RIGHT ON THEM .

6 . THE PROTOCOL ON THE PRIVILEGES AND IMMUNITIES OF THE ECSC PROHIBITS ANY MEASURE BY A MEMBER STATE IMPOSING ON AN OFFICIAL OF THE COMMUNITY ANY TAXATION, WHETHER DIRECT OR INDIRECT, WHICH IS BASED IN WHOLE OR IN PART ON THE PAYMENT OF THE SALARY AND EMOLUMENTS TO THAT OFFICIAL BY THE COMMUNITY .

CONSEQUENTLY THE TAKING INTO ACCOUNT OF THIS REMUNERATION FOR THE CALCULATION OF THE RATE APPLICABLE TO OTHER INCOME OF THAT PERSON IS ALSO PROHIBITED .

THE TAKING INTO ACCOUNT OF THIS REMUNERATION FOR THE PURPOSE OF CALCULATING THE RATE APPLICABLE TO THE INCOME OF THE SPOUSE OF AN OFFICIAL OF THE ECSC WHERE THE NATIONAL LEGISLATION APPLICABLE PROVIDES FOR ASSESSMENT ON THE JOINT INCOME OF THE SPOUSES IS LIKEWISE PROHIBITED . 7 . IF THE COURT FINDS THAT A LEGISLATIVE OR ADMINISTRATIVE MEASURE ADOPTED BY THE AUTHORITIES OF A MEMBER STATE IS CONTRARY TO COMMUNITY LAW, THAT STATE IS OBLIGED BY VIRTUE OF ARTICLE 86 OF THE ECSC TREATY TO RESCIND THE MEASURE IN QUESTION AND TO MAKE REPARATION FOR ANY UNLAWFUL CONSEQUENCES THEREOF .

Parties

IN CASE 6/60

JEAN-E . HUMBLET, AN OFFICIAL OF THE ECSC, WITH AN ADDRESS FOR SERVICE IN LUXEMBOURG AT 7 RUE DU FORT-RHEINSHEIM, APPLICANT,

ASSISTED BY PAUL ORIANNE, ADVOCATE AT THE COUR D'APPEL, BRUSSELS,

V

BELGIAN STATE, WITH AN ADDRESS FOR SERVICE IN LUXEMBOURG AT THE BELGIAN EMBASSY, 9 BOULEVARD DU PRINCE-HENRI, DEFENDANT,

REPRESENTED BY THE MINISTER FOR FINANCE, WITH GEORGES LALOUX, DEPUTY ADVISER AT THE DEPARTMENT OF DIRECT TAXATION ( CONSEILLER ADJOINT A L'ADMINISTRATION CENTRALE DES CONTRIBUTIONS DIRECTES ) OF THE MINISTRY FOR FINANCE, ACTING AS AGENT, ASSISTED BY JULES FALLY, ADVOCATE AT THE COUR DE CASSATION OF BELGIUM,

Subject of the case

APPLICATION FOR THE INTERPRETATION OF ARTICLE 11 ( B ) OF THE PROTOCOL ON THE PRIVILEGES AND IMMUNITIES OF THE ECSC,

Grounds

I - THE BASIS AND EXTENT OF THE COURT'S JURISDICTION

1 . BY VIRTUE OF ARTICLE 16 OF THE PROTOCOL ON THE PRIVILEGES AND IMMUNITIES OF THE EUROPEAN COAL AND STEEL COMMUNITY, IN CONJONCTION WITH ARTICLE 43 OF THE ECSC TREATY, THE COURT HAS JURISDICTION TO RULE ON ANY DISPUTE RELATING TO THE INTERPRETATION OR APPLICATION OF THAT PROTOCOL .

IN THE PRESENT CASE THE DEFENDANT NEVERTHELESS CONTENDS THAT THE COURT HAS NO JURISDICTION AND THAT THE CASE DOES NOT RELATE TO THE INTERPRETATION OF THE PROTOCOL BUT TO THE CORRECT APPLICATION OF BELGIAN LAW TO THE INCOME OF THE APPLICANT'S WIFE WHO IS NOT HERSELF AN OFFICIAL OF THE COMMUNITY .

THIS ARGUMENT CANNOT BE ACCEPTED BY THE COURT .

IN REALITY THE DISPUTE RELATES TO THE QUESTION WHETHER ARTICLE 11 ( B ) OF THE PROTOCOL ALLOWS MEMBER STATES TO TAKE INTO ACCOUNT THE REMUNERATION OF AN OFFICIAL OF THE COMMUNITY IN ORDER TO DETERMINE THE RATE OF TAX APPLICABLE TO HIS WIFE'S INCOME . IN ITS DEFENCE, THE DEFENDANT ITSELF STATED THAT THIS WAS THE SUBJECT OF THE DISPUTE .

THE COURT IS THEREFORE CONCERNED WITH RESOLVING A DISPUTE RELATING TO THE INTERPRETATION OR APPLICATION OF THE PROTOCOL, IN PARTICULAR ARTICLE 11 ( B ).

CONSEQUENTLY THE CONTENTION THAT THE COURT LACKS JURISDICTION MUST BE REJECTED .

2 . ON THE OTHER HAND THE COURT HAS NO JURISDICTION TO ANNUL LEGISLATIVE OR ADMINISTRATIVE MEASURES OF ONE OF THE MEMBER STATES .

THE ECSC TREATY IS BASED ON THE PRINCIPLE OF A STRICT SEPARATION OF THE POWERS OF THE COMMUNITY INSTITUTIONS AND THOSE OF THE AUTHORITIES OF THE MEMBER STATES .

COMMUNITY LAW DOES NOT GRANT TO THE INSTITUTIONS OF THE COMMUNITY THE RIGHT TO ANNUL LEGISLATIVE OR ADMINISTRATIVE MEASURES ADOPTED BY A MEMBER STATE .

THUS, IF THE HIGH AUTHORITY BELIEVES THAT A STATE HAS FAILED TO FULFIL AN OBLIGATION UNDER THE TREATY BY ADOPTING OR MAINTAINING IN FORCE PROVISIONS CONTRARY TO THE TREATY, IT MAY NOT ITSELF ANNUL OR REPEAL THOSE PROVISIONS BUT, IN ACCORDANCE WITH ARTICLE 88 OF THE TREATY, IT MAY MERELY RECORD SUCH A FAILURE AND SUBSEQUENTLY INSTITUTE PROCEEDINGS AS SET OUT IN THE TREATY TO PREVAIL UPON THE STATE IN QUESTION ITSELF TO RESCIND THE MEASURES WHICH IT HAD ADOPTED .

THE SAME APPLIES TO THE COURT OF JUSTICE . UNDER THE TERMS OF ARTICLE 31 OF THE TREATY IT HAS RESPONSABILITY FOR ENSURING THAT COMMUNITY LAW IS OBSERVED AND BY ARTICLE 16 OF THE PROTOCOL HAS JURISDICTION TO RULE ON ANY DISPUTE RELATING TO THE INTERPRETATION OR APPLICATION OF THE PROTOCOL BUT IT MAY NOT, ON ITS OWN AUTHORITY, ANNUL OR REPEAL THE NATIONAL LAWS OF A MEMBER STATE OR ADMINISTRATIVE MEASURES ADOPTED BY THE AUTHORITIES OF THAT STATE .

THIS STATEMENT OF THE LIMITS OF THE JURISDICTION OF THE COURT MAY FURTHER BE SUPPORTED BY AN ARGUMENT STEMMING FROM THE TREATIES OF ROME, IN PARTICULAR FROM ARTICLE 171 OF THE EEC TREATY AND ARTICLE 143 OF THE EAEC TREATY WHICH MERELY ATTACH DECLARATORY EFFECT TO THE DECISIONS OF THE COURT IN CASES OF FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH THE TREATIES, ALBEIT OBLIGING THE MEMBER STATES TO TAKE THE NECESSARY MEASURES TO COMPLY WITH THE JUDGMENT .

P . 569

THE COURT FINDS THAT THERE IS NO FOUNDATION TO THE ARGUMENT OF THE APPLICANT THAT THE PROTECTION OF THE PRIVILEGES AND IMMUNITIES CONFERRED BY THE PROTOCOL WOULD BE INEFFECTIVE AND THE JUDGMENT OF THE COURT OF JUSTICE REDUCED TO A MERE OPINION IF IT WERE UNABLE TO ANNUL ILLEGAL MEASURES ADOPTED BY NATIONAL AUTHORITIES AND ORDER THE MEMBER STATES TO MAKE REPARATION FOR THE RESULTANT DAMAGE .

THE APPLICANT BASES HIS REASONING ON THE TEXT OF ARTICLE 16 OF THE PROTOCOL ON THE PRIVILEGES AND IMMUNITIES IN CONJUNCTION WITH ARTICLE 43 OF THE ECSC TREATY ON THE GROUNDS THAT THE ABOVE-MENTIONED ARTICLE 16 REFERS NOT ONLY TO INTERPRETATION BUT ALSO TO THE " APPLICATION " OF THAT PROTOCOL .

NEVERTHELESS IT WOULD BE ERRONEOUS TO ACCEPT THAT THIS PROVISION ENABLES THE COURT TO INTERFERE DIRECTLY IN THE LEGISLATION OR ADMINISTRATION OF MEMBER STATES .

IN FACT IF THE COURT RULES IN A JUDGMENT THAT A LEGISLATIVE OR ADMINISTRATIVE MEASURE ADOPTED BY THE AUTHORITIES OF A MEMBER STATE IS CONTRARY TO COMMUNITY LAW, THAT MEMBER STATE IS OBLIGED, BY VIRTUE OF ARTICLE 86 OF THE ECSC TREATY, TO RESCIND THE MEASURE IN QUESTION AND TO MAKE REPARATION FOR ANY UNLAWFUL...

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47 practice notes
  • Conclusiones de la Abogado General Sra. J. Kokott, presentadas el 29 de abril de 2021.
    • European Union
    • Court of Justice (European Union)
    • 29 April 2021
    ...le point 106 des présentes conclusions. 40 Voir au sujet de cette situation, arrêt du 16 décembre 1960, Humblet/État belge (6/60‑IMM, EU:C:1960:48). 41 Voir à ce sujet, arrêt du 17 décembre 2020, Commission/Slovénie (Archives de la BCE) (C‑316/19, EU:C:2020:1030, points 111 et 42 Voir à ce ......
  • Francovich v Italian Republic (Joined Cases C-6/90 and 9/90)
    • European Union
    • European Court of Justice
    • 19 November 1991
    ...the ecsc Treaty, to rescind the measure in question and to make reparation for any unlawful consequences which may have ensured Judgment in Case 6/60 Humblet v. BelgiumINTL [1960] ECR 559[1]); similarly, the Court has often stated that the object of an action under Article 169 of the Treaty......
  • Brasserie du Pecheur SA v Federal Republic of Germany; R v Secretary of State for Transport, ex parte Factortame Ltd (No 4) (Joined Cases C-46/93 and C-48/93)
    • European Union
    • European Court of Justice
    • 5 March 1996
    ...argued that any right to compensation should be based solely on the substantive and procedural possibilities afforded by national law. 25—Case 6/60 Humblet v BelgiumINTL[27] [1960] ECR 559, in particular at 569. In that case, the reference was to Article 86 of the ECSC Treaty, which corresp......
  • Danisco Sugar AB v Allmänna ombudet.
    • European Union
    • Court of Justice (European Union)
    • 17 June 1997
    ...[1973] ECR 865, paragraph 4, and Case C-195/90 Commission v Germany [1992] ECR I-3141. (23) - See footnote 29 below. (24) - See, ex multis, Case 6/60 Humblet v Belgian State (concerning Article 86 of the ECSC Treaty) [1960] ECR 559, in particular p. 569; Case 231/83 Cullet [1985] ECR 305, p......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
45 cases
  • Conclusiones de la Abogado General Sra. J. Kokott, presentadas el 29 de abril de 2021.
    • European Union
    • Court of Justice (European Union)
    • 29 April 2021
    ...le point 106 des présentes conclusions. 40 Voir au sujet de cette situation, arrêt du 16 décembre 1960, Humblet/État belge (6/60‑IMM, EU:C:1960:48). 41 Voir à ce sujet, arrêt du 17 décembre 2020, Commission/Slovénie (Archives de la BCE) (C‑316/19, EU:C:2020:1030, points 111 et 42 Voir à ce ......
  • Francovich v Italian Republic (Joined Cases C-6/90 and 9/90)
    • European Union
    • European Court of Justice
    • 19 November 1991
    ...the ecsc Treaty, to rescind the measure in question and to make reparation for any unlawful consequences which may have ensured Judgment in Case 6/60 Humblet v. BelgiumINTL [1960] ECR 559[1]); similarly, the Court has often stated that the object of an action under Article 169 of the Treaty......
  • Brasserie du Pecheur SA v Federal Republic of Germany; R v Secretary of State for Transport, ex parte Factortame Ltd (No 4) (Joined Cases C-46/93 and C-48/93)
    • European Union
    • European Court of Justice
    • 5 March 1996
    ...argued that any right to compensation should be based solely on the substantive and procedural possibilities afforded by national law. 25—Case 6/60 Humblet v BelgiumINTL[27] [1960] ECR 559, in particular at 569. In that case, the reference was to Article 86 of the ECSC Treaty, which corresp......
  • Danisco Sugar AB v Allmänna ombudet.
    • European Union
    • Court of Justice (European Union)
    • 17 June 1997
    ...[1973] ECR 865, paragraph 4, and Case C-195/90 Commission v Germany [1992] ECR I-3141. (23) - See footnote 29 below. (24) - See, ex multis, Case 6/60 Humblet v Belgian State (concerning Article 86 of the ECSC Treaty) [1960] ECR 559, in particular p. 569; Case 231/83 Cullet [1985] ECR 305, p......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
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