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Amministrazione delle Finanze v Simmenthal SpA

[1978] ECR 629

Case summary last updated at 05/02/2020 14:23 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case Amministrazione delle Finanze v Simmenthal SpA

Simmenthal, an importer, had to pay the cost of an inspection of meat it was importing to Italy from France, and claimed that the fee it had to pay for the inspection was contrary to article 30 EEC treaty: Free movement of goods. The ECJ said the charge was illegal and ordered that the fees be repaid. The Italian court then referred to the ECJ the question: Does EEC treaty give courts power to disregard national law or declare it unconstitutional without waiting for amendment by legislature? ECJ said that EC law rendered conflicting national law inoperative, since if this were not the case then there would be no effective implementation of EU law and the “very foundations” of the community would be threatened. Thus a national court is under a “duty” to apply EC law. This even applied where the national laws had been passed after the EC law!

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