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Comercial Jurcdiction And Its Influence On Precedents

2859 words - 12 pages

Commercial Jurisdiction and its Influence on Precedents

1. Introduction

“Cassis de Dijon” is one of the most significant cases from historical reference, which laid out jusidictional precedent about commercial jurisdiction. This case has been used as an example for courts to reference every since.

Cassis de Dijon is a French liquor manufactured from black currants. Cassis contains 15%-20% alcohol and the German standards prescribed 25%. For the Germans, the percentage of alcohol became a problem as it wasn’t their standards.

This case has been very important and has been used as precedent in similar cases that have taken place in the future. Similar cases ...view middle of the document...

The German government argued the validity of its regulation primarily on health grounds, claiming that the law existed to avoid the proliferation of alcoholic beverages within the German market. It argued that beverages with low alcoholic content induce a tolerance toward alcoholism more so than highly alcoholic beverages. Germany also offered a consumer protection justification claiming there was a need to protect consumers from unfair producer and distributor practices. In its final argument, the German government argued that the elimination of the import ban would mean that one country could set the standards for all Member States, thus making a lowering of standards throughout the European Union.

After the case was brought inside the German courts, the European Court of Justice ruled that because Cassis met French standards, it could not be kept out of the German market.

The European Court rejected the German health argument as unconvincing and dismissed the its consumer protection justification. After rejecting the German defense claims, the Court spelled out the general principle, which is now the most famous part of the ruling: "There is therefore no valid reason why, provided that they have been lawfully produced and marketed in one of the Member States, alcoholic beverages should not be introduced into any other Member State."

The Court ruled that barriers to trade were allowed only to satisfy mandatory requirements relating to the effectiveness of fiscal supervision, the protection of public health, the fairness of commercial transactions and the defense of the consumer. When these conditions are threatened and import prohibitions are found to be valid, the EU's Commission would provide minimum standards in the form of a directive. Member States would then be obliged to harmonize their standards to meet the criteria set out in Commission directives.

Cassis gained notoriety when a political debate was instigated by the Commission. The Commission extracted the aspects of the ruling that were useful for eliminating nontariff trade barriers. In the Fall of 1979 Etienne Davignon, the internal market commissioner, suggested in front of the European Union Parliament that trade policy should take a new direction based on the Cassis ruling.

The Official Journal of the European Communities states, "Any product imported from another Member State must in principle be admitted...if it has been lawfully produced, that is, conforms to rules and processes of manufacture that are customarily and traditionally accepted in the exporting country."

2.2 Stakeholders

1) Company producing the Cassis de Dijon
They were of course effected, but since they won the case in the end, everything worked out for them. They were able to sell their liquor in other countries after the court decided on the case.

2) Company importing to Germany
They were the second of the major parties involved in this case and of course they were...

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