Most Noticeable Cases of the ECJ


On Monday November 23rd, 2009, the Master in European Litigation of the university of Luxembourg will celebrate its tenth anniversary.

One of various talks to be given throughout the afternoon will present and discuss the Ten Most Noticeable Cases of the European Court of Justice in the Last Decade. No doubt, the speaker will not focus specifically on private international law, but it is my intention to urge him to include at least one.

Now, the next question is of course, Which one?  

I am therefore asking readers: which case (or couple of cases) of the ECJ has been the most noticeable one in the last decade for private international lawyers? and since we got started, what about the most noticeable one since the creation of the Court?

10 replies
  1. Gilles Cuniberti says:

    My vote:
    – most noticeable case since the creation of the court: Tessili. Evidence of its importance can be found in the Groupe Concorde case, which almost openly asked for reconsideration of the rule.

    – most noticeable case in the last 10 years: harder to say. I think I would go for Krombach.

  2. Sandrine Clavel says:

    My vote:

    -most noticeable case since the creation of the court: Centros (1999, just beyond the time limit; I could have chosen Garcia-Avello, but the date would not fit and I have another one for the “last ten years” category), for its contribution to the renewal of Private International law methodologies and to the most stimulating issue of “la méthode de reconnaissance des situations” (for which I don’t know the English equivalent!).

    -most noticeable case in the last 10 years: Gasser, because of how this case challenges the efficiency and coherence of the Brussels system.

  3. Thomas Raphael says:

    Gasser has to be a strong candidate for the last ten years from the perspective of the EU as a whole.

    If one is thinking of the most noticeable case in terms of effects on the coherence of one’s own legal system, a common lawyer would probably pick Owusu. But then common lawyers have been spoilt for choice lately in this regard …

  4. TONI MARZAL says:

    Since the creation of the Court, I would also say Centros: revolutionary for EU law as much as as for PIL, it has been the object of hundreds of passionate commentaries and rightly been said to turn upside down the way we look at conflicts situations.

    For the recent years, I would go for the Viking and Laval cases. Even if they are not the first to do so, they illustrate the extent to which European conflicts of laws are being seized by a “balancing” approach. And in terms of “noticeability”, you cannot ask for more…

  5. Martin Illmer says:

    I would also go for Gasser as the most noticeable case in the last ten years. And Owusu is not only highly relevant for common lawyers since it addressed the problem of the applicability of Brussels I to external situations which might well be on the agenda of the European Commission in the near future. Most noticeable ever – hard to say, but there are some candidates who would all merit to be chosen: Centros, Gasser, Owusu, Shevill. If I had to choose, I would go for Centros. Its impact on legal practice and the line of ECJ decisions it triggered stood out of the crowd.

  6. Martin George says:

    Like Thomas above, my first instinct was Gasser, followed by Owusu for slightly different reasons. They seem like such obvious choices, but that does not necessarily make those choices wrong.

    In terms of the impact upon my own research, however, I would probably plump for: Coreck Maritime [2000] or Tacconi [2002]. If I could have any from any time (rather than the last 10 years), it would be Jakob Handte [1992] or Reunion Europeenne [1998].

  7. Elisabetta Botti says:

    I would say Krombach for its general impact on the “free movement of judgements”.
    Without this ruling, the (national) concept of public policy would probably still be an obstacle to the recognition of judgments given in other contracting States.

  8. Rafael says:

    I would say Centros, without any doubt. Überseering and, specially, Inspire Art are, even, more important; but Centros was the first one, the one that opened the door. Its impact in practice was, and still is, remarkable; moreover, Centros changed the relationship between Company law, PIL and Community law. Many commercial lawyers began to study PIL after Centros; some PIL teachers paid more attention to Community law after reading Centros; and Centros made that some specialists in Community law realized that it is not necessarily bad to have some knowledge of the internal law of the member States.

  9. Petr Briza says:

    I would also go for Gasser or Owusu. And also Ingmar should not be forgotten.

    Interestingly, all are in my view noticeable especially for being quite wrongly decided…

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