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C-106/89 Marleasing SA v CIA

[1990] ECR I-4135

Case summary last updated at 13/02/2020 21:09 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case C-106/89 Marleasing SA v CIA

This case was between P and R (two private companies), P seeking to have R’s company de-listed on the grounds of “lack of cause” to the company (it was for preventing another company’s creditors reaching its assets), which was part of Spanish law but not of the relevant, unimplemented, EC directive. Since the action was between two private companies, the directive could only be relied upon insofar as it could cause the court to interpret national law in its light. The ECJ said that Spanish law allowed nullity of a company on the grounds of “lack of cause”, whereas the directive refused nullity on these grounds. Despite saying that Spanish courts should only interpret national law in the light of the directive as far as possible (not give horizontal direct effect to directive itself), the ECJ nevertheless said that the directive’s provision on the subject should be complied with. This seems to leave the law uncertain, since “interpretation in light of directive” has been taken by the court to mean “interpret giving precedence to the directive”. This case establishes that an unimplemented directive may influence the interpretation of the national law.

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