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Procureur du Roi v Benoît and Gustave Dassonville

[1974] ECR 837

Case summary last updated at 12/02/2020 16:44 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case Procureur du Roi v Benoît and Gustave Dassonville

Belgium required that products claiming to be from a certain origin could not be sold as such unless accompanied by a certificate of authenticity from the government of that country of origin. Art. 28 prohibits quantitative restrictions on imports and all measures having equivalent effect. D was importing Scotch whiskey from France and didn’t have a certificate from UK govt. When prosecuted, it argued that the national rule was a measure equivalent to a quantity restriction. ECJ agreed that, in this instance, the national law was an infringement of article 28. 
ECJ: “All trading rules enacted by member-States which are capable of hindering, directly or indirectly, actually or potentially, intra-Community trade are to be considered as measures having an effect equivalent to quantitative restrictions.” (This is the classic definition used in all subsequent cases) If there is an ‘authenticity-guaranteeing’ scheme, it must be reasonable and the means of proof should not hinder trade between member states. Here only direct importers are in a position to obtain authentication. The conclusion is that “the requirement by a member-State of a certificate of authenticity which is less easily obtainable by importers of an authentic product which has been put into free circulation in a regular manner in another member-State than by importers of the same product coming directly from the country of origin constitutes a measure having an effect equivalent to a quantitative restriction as prohibited by the Treaty.”

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