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European Union law

The Firm has extensive experience in the field of European Union law, both in its implementation in the Italian domestic legal system and in the context of relations with European institutions. More specifically, the Firm has initiated requests for infringement procedures before the European Commission on behalf of its clients:

  • in matters of State aid pursuant to article 107 TFEU, for violation of the principles of cuncurrency;
  • in the field of health, for the application of the legislation of the so-called SGEI (Services of General Economic Interest) article 106 of the TFEU and the principles established by the CJEU judgment rendered in the Haltmark case of 2003;
  • in the field of environmental law, for the identification and protection of SCI areas (Sites of Community Importance) or in the application of the Aarhus Convention of 1998 on access to documents and judicial authority in environmental matters by bodies operating on a non-profit basis in the so-called third sector (associations, committees, foundations).

The Firm assists the client in every stage of the procedure: from the drafting of the act of objection to be submitted to the European Commission; from the reply given by the Commission; from the verification of the observations made by the Administration involved; to drafting of the counter-arguments; up to the final act adopted by the Commission.

In the event that the measure proves negative for the applicant, the Firm initiates the phase of judicial challenge of said measure adopted by the Commission before the General Court of the European Union, curating every stage of the proceeding: responding to the Commission’s objections of inadmissibility, replying to the Commission’s counter-arguments on the merits, proceeding to the filing of any documents; responding to the specific questions of admissibility or merit requested by the General Court; preparing the pleadings for the conclusion of the proceedings and the relevant replies; presenting the formal request for an oral argument; participating in the oral argument, preparing all the necessary activities including the preparation of the hearing with the simultaneous translation system.

The Law Firm is registered in the E-CURIA system and works with the Registry of the General Court as well as the one pertaining to the Court of Justice, with the possibility of operating through the filing of documents by telematic means, following the “Rules of Procedure of the General Court” and the “Practice rules for the implementation of the Rules of Procedure of the General Court”.

The Law Firm appeals against judgments of the General Court before the Court of Justice by carrying out the entire procedure in accordance with the “Rules of Procedure of the Court of Justice” and the “Practice directions to parties concerning cases brought before the Court”.

Similarly, the Firm follows the procedures for the execution of final judgements rendered by the General Court or the Court of Justice condemning the State for infringement of EU law in the Italian State – article 14, letter a) of Law no. 234 of 24 December 2012; articles 258, 259 and 260 TFEU.

In this regard, it may be useful to present a summary of the jurisdictional activity of the Court of Justice of the European Union which includes the activity of the Court of Justice and the General Court of the European Union.

The Court of Justice as a jurisdictional body is competent to take direct actions against Member States or an institution, body, organ or agency of the European Union concerning the non-fulfillment of obligations under EU law.

The application may be presented:

  • by the European Commission, following the pre-litigation procedure referred to in article 258 TFEU. At the end of said procedure, carried out on a contradictory basis, the Commission issues a final and motivated opinion;
  • by a member State against another member State, after having submitted the matter to the Commission pursuant to article 259 TFEU.

The Court may:

  • find that the member State has breached the obligation set forth by EU law, thus requiring the State in question to take an appropriate measure to remedy the breach;
  • impose the payment of a sanction, upon the input of the Commission, if the latter ascertains that the member State has not complied with the judgment of the Court itself, article 260 TFEU.

Another competence of the Court of Justice concerns the applications for annulment against the institutions of the Union: namely in the case in which the applicant requests the annulment of an act presumably contrary to EU law (article 263 TFEU) or cases of violation of EU law in which an institution, body, office, or agency has abstained from acting (article 265 TFEU).

The action may involve a regulation, directive or decision adopted by an EU institution, body, office or agency, and brought up by the Member States, the institutions themselves or any natural or legal person.

In these instances, the Court may declare the contested act null and void or ascertain the abstention, in which case the institution at fault is required to take the measures necessary to comply with the Court’s judgment, ex article 266 TFEU.

The Court is also competent to decide on applications against decisions of the Commission imposing sanctions on companies, ex article 261 TFEU.

In addition, the Court of Justice is the appellate court for all cases decided by the General Court, pursuant to articles 263, 265, 268, 270 and 272 TFEU.

The Court also has jurisdiction for the actions disciplined in articles 263 and 265 TFEU, brought up by a Member State in the cases of an act or failure to act by the European Parliament, the Council or the Commission, within the limits set by the Treaties.

The Court is also competent for so-called indirect actions, i.e. those questions raised by a national court (article 267 TFEU – preliminary referral) for the purpose of the correct interpretation of EU legislation (Treaties, regulations, directives, etc.).

The General Court is the first instance court in the cases of actions for which the Court of Justice has no jurisdiction (actions between the institutions and actions brought by a member State against the Parliament and/or the Council) and, therefore, for the actions taken by individuals (natural or legal persons) or by a Member State against the measures of the Commission (articles 263 and 265 TFEU, actions for the annulment of acts of the EU institutions, bodies, offices or agencies or actions taken by natural or legal persons for failure to act by the institutions; article 268 TFEU actions seeking compensation for damage caused by the EU institutions or bodies or their agents; 270 and 272 TFEU disputes relating to contracts concluded by or on behalf of the Union, which expressly provide for the jurisdiction of the General Court). In addition, the General Court has jurisdiction over actions in the field of intellectual property directed against the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and against the Community Plant Variety Office (CPVO); as well as over disputes between the Union and its agents, including disputes between any institution or any body or organ, on the one hand, and its staff, on the other.

The judgments rendered by the General Court may be appealed to the Court of Justice, but only on questions of legality.

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Tel: +39 06 85300769 Mon – Fri 09:00-17:00