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C-173/03 Traghetti del Mediterraneo

[2006] ECR I-5177

Case summary last updated at 13/02/2020 19:34 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case C-173/03 Traghetti del Mediterraneo

Italian legislation sought to restrict state liability arising from judgments of the court of last instance. The Italian court referred to the ECJ the questions of 1. whether Member States could be held liable for errors of the courts when making, or failing to make a preliminary reference to the ECJ; and 2. on the limits to state liability imposed by domestic legislation. ECJ held that such legislation conflicted with Community law and that the decision in Kobler was correct. 
 
ECJ: Liability for a decision by a court of last instance could be no narrower than the guidelines set out in Kobler (manifest infringement of the applicable law), lest the Kobler principle be rendered meaningless. Exclusion of liability for an interpretation of law or assessments of facts or evidence by the national court of last instance would ‘render meaningless’  the principle laid down in Kobler, since a manifest judgement of the EC law could readily arise from either of these two kinds of essential judicial activity, especially when carried out by the court of the last instance.

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