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Historical Archives of the European Union

Procedure files 1985 of the Court of Justice of EU available for consultation

The inventory of the Court of Justice of the European Union’s original procedure records for the year 1985 is now accessible in the Historical Archives of the European Union (HAEU) database, and the files are available for consultation in digital format under specific access conditions.

07 June 2022

491 new files from the archives of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) have recently been opened in the database of the Historical Archives of the European Union (HAEU). The files pertain to 434 cases referred to the CJEU in 1985.

Two cases had particularly important ramifications for European Union law. The first concerned the European Economic Community’s objective as a single labour market, while the second concerned the jurisdiction of national courts to declare Community acts invalid.

Lawrie-Blum v. Land Baden-Württemberg C-66/85

In Lawrie-Blum v. Land Baden-Württemberg C- 66/85 the Court decided on issues concerning the interpretation of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), specifically Article 45 on the freedom of movement for workers (ex-Article 48 EEC Treaty). The Court clarified the autonomous meaning of ‘worker’ in Article 45(1) TFEU and the meaning of ‘public service’ in Article 45(4) TFEU.

In this case, British national Deborah Lawrie-Blum, who had passed the German state examination to become a teacher in a gymnasium, was refused admission as a trainee teacher in Germany based on her nationality. Under German law, teachers are part of the civil service, for which employment was restricted to German nationals.

Lawrie-Blum argued that exclusion from the trainee programme was incompatible with the free movement of workers under Article 45 TFEU.

The national court had decided that trainee teachers were temporary civil servants and thus came within the exception of ‘public service’ under Article 45(4) TFEU.

In its judgment, the CJEU ruled that the definition of ‘worker’ under the former Article 48 EEC implied as an ‘essential feature’ the performance of services ‘for and under the direction of another person’ over a certain period of time and in return for a remuneration. Therefore, a trainee teacher who, under the direction and supervision of the school authorities, undergoes a period of service in preparation for the teaching profession during which he provides services by giving lessons and receives remuneration must be regarded as a worker within the meaning of article 48(1) of the EEC Treaty, irrespective of the legal nature of the employment relationship. The Court also ruled that the period of preparatory service for the teaching profession cannot be regarded as employment in the public service within the meaning of article 48 (4) EEC Treaty to which nationals of other member states may be denied access.

Foto-Frost v Hauptzollamt Lübeck-Ost C-314/85

The Foto-Frost Case dealt with the question of whether a national court could review the validity of a decision adopted by the Commission and whether the relevant Commission’s decision was valid.

In this case, the Commission had delivered a decision that a German customs office could not waive the recovery of customs duty on photographic goods that Foto-Frost had imported to Germany from Denmark and the United Kingdom. Having thus received a notice to pay the duty, Foto-Frost applied for the annulment of the notice to the Finance Court of Hamburg. That Court found the validity of the Commission’s decision to be doubtful. In connection with those proceedings, the Finance Court of Hamburg asked the CJUE for a preliminary ruling on whether a national court could review the validity of a Commission decision and whether it could decide upon the validity of such decisions.

In its judgment, the Court ruled that while national courts may consider the validity of a Community act, they have no jurisdiction themselves to declare that measures taken by Community institutions are invalid. Only the Court of Justice, responsible for ensuring that Community law is applied uniformly in all the Member States, has the jurisdiction both to declare void or invalid an act of a Community institution.

With regard to the second part of the case concerning the validity of the Commission’s decision to oblige Foto-Frost to pay the customs duty on the imported goods, the Court decided that the Commission’s decision in that particular case was invalid.


Court’s holdings at the HAEU

Following the agreement signed on 10 July 2014 between the Court and the European University Institute, the Court regularly deposits new archival sets at the HAEU in Florence, where they are made available for public consultation.

To learn more about access conditions and use, click here.

To consult the inventory of the archival holdings of the CJEU, click here.

 

Image: Court of Justice of the European Union, Luxembourg, by Cédric Puisney /wikimedia commons: cc-by-2.0

Last update: 07 June 2022

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