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Plaumann & Co v Commission

[1963] ECR 95:

Case summary last updated at 08/02/2020 17:34 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case Plaumann & Co v Commission

In 1961 the German Government requested C to authorize it to suspend the collection of duties on clementines imported from non-member countries. C refused the request & addressed its answer to the German Government. A was an importer of clementines who contested the legality of C’s decision. ECJ held that A could not bring an action under art 230. It then set out the following test for individual concern, and concluded that A had no standing:
“Persons other than those to whom a decision is addressed may only claim to be individually concerned if that decision affects them by reason of certain attributes which are peculiar to them or by reason of circumstances in which they are differentiated from all other persons and by virtue of these factors distinguishes them individually just as in the case of the person addressed. In the present case the applicant is affected by the disputed Decision as an importer of clementines, that is to say, by reason of a commercial activity which may at any time be practised by any persons and is not therefore such as to distinguish the applicant in relation to the contested Decision as in the case of the addressee. For these reasons the present action for annulment must be declared inadmissible.” Test = 1st sentence of the extract: Ps who claim to be individually concerned by a decision addressed to another can do so only if they are differentiated from all other persons & by reason of these distinguishing features are singled out in the same was as the initial addressee. Test nonetheless recognises that it’s possible for there to be more than one A who is individually concerned. Application of test = 2nd sentence: A failed because it practiced a commercial activity that could be carried on by any person at any time. For criticism see Craig and de Burca (above). 

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