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143/88 & 92/89 Zuckerfabrik Suderdithmarschen

[1991] ECR I-415

Case summary last updated at 13/02/2020 18:30 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case 143/88 & 92/89 Zuckerfabrik Suderdithmarschen

A German court asked the ECJ whether the remedy of interim relief should be available where an administrative measure implementing an EC regulation was challenged on the basis that that regulation itself was claimed to be invalid as it was inconsistent with the principles of EU law. ECJ held that interim relief should be granted equally whether P is contesting the compatibility of national regulations with EU laws or whether it is contesting the compatibility of secondary EU law with primary EU law (i.e. treaty articles). 
 
ECJ: The court set out certain conditions for interim relief against an implementation measure: “Suspension of enforcement of a national measure adopted in implementation of a Community measure may be granted by a national court only if that court entertains serious doubts as to the validity of the Community measure and, should the question of the validity of the contested measure not already have been brought before the Court of Justice, itself refers that question to the Court of Justice, if there is urgency and a threat of serious and irreparable damage to the applicant and if the national court takes due account of the Community's interests.” (The court said that this last point refers specifically to the need for community law to be ‘effective’ and the NC must consider whether interim relief would deprive the measure of all effectiveness. Consequently there should be no interim relief without appropriate guarantees). These conditions were required by the ECJ to protect ‘uniform application’ of EC law, lest the different procedural rules of interim relief vary according to national procedure (appears to prioritise uniform application over national procedural autonomy). ECJ compared art.242, which gives the ECJ the power to suspend EC legislation challenged before it, and the ability of national courts to suspend administrative measures implementing EC legislation. Art. 249 (regulations ‘directly applicable’) does not prevent this- interim orders are merely part of the process of challenging the validity of EC legislation.

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