V1.232 Action by private persons

V1.232 Action by private persons

The procedures under EU Treaty arts 258 and 259 described in V1.231 do not permit an action to be brought in the Court of Justice of the European Union by individuals or companies whose interests have been harmed by a member state's failure to implement a directive. Various courses are open to an individual or company in such circumstances. One is to lodge a complaint with the Commission, which might lead to the initiation of proceedings under art 258. Another is to persuade government to bring an action against the infringing member state under art 259.

In other cases, it may be possible to raise the alleged infringement through proceedings in a national court, which might then seek guidance from the Court of Justice of the European Union under the procedure in art 2671 (references for preliminary rulings). For example, an individual or company might bring an action against a member state to claim back taxes which he considered have been levied in contravention of Community law. Or an individual or company might, in resisting a claim for tax, raise as a defence the argument that the tax or the tax rate was incompatible with the Community law. In such cases, the national court may ask the Court of Justice of the European Union to give guidance as to the interpretation of relevant Community law.

EU Treaty art 267 provides that—

The Court of Justice of the European Union shall have jurisdiction to give preliminary rulings concerning:

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