Thursday, March 17, 2011

This Week in Luxembourg

This week’s Grand Chamber case – Koelzsch v. Luxembourg – involves some fun litigation following an allegedly unlawful dismissal. The plaintiff already lost in German and Luxembourg courts, on jurisdictional and merits grounds, respectively, and now he’s suing the state of Luxembourg for maladministration of justice. In the end, the only question before the ECJ is where this lorry driver “habitually carried out his work” under art. 6(2)(a) of the Rome Convention, the answer being that it is where he “performs the greater part of his obligations towards his employer.”

Despite directive 72/166 and subsequent directives on civil liability & car accidents, Portugal is allowed to split the damage 50/50 if it is unclear to what extent each driver is at fault. Carvalho Ferreira Santos

Unusually, AG Jääskinen disagreed with the Commission in an infringement case. The latter had alleged that Slovakia had failed to fulfil its obligations under directive 2003/54 on the internal market for electricity by keeping in place a private law contract between its state electricity company and a Swiss company that predated accession, giving the Swiss preferential access to part of the network. The AG felt, “not without some hesitation”, that this contract is protected under the old art. 307(1) EC, and that Slovakia is allowed to keep the contract in place until it expires. Commission v. Slovakia

Also by AG Jääskinen, a win for copyright holders. The AG interprets Directive 93/83 on the coordination of certain rules concerning copyright and rights related to copyright applicable to satellite broadcasting and cable retransmission as allowing the rule identified by the (lower) Belgian court, which held that new authorisation was necessary for retransmission of digital television signals via an independent satellite. Airfield & Canal Digitaal (NL, DE, FR)

In news about Bulgarian lawyers, Gentcho Pavlov would like to be a trainee-attorney in Austria, but they won’t/wouldn’t let him. Even though Bulgaria is now part of the EU, he still needs an answer for the period of 2004-2006. So the question is whether art.38(1) of the Bulgarian association agreement had direct effect. AG Mengozzi argues that it did, but that this does not help mr. Pavlov. Pavlov and Famira (NL, DE, FR)

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