Case C-240/15, ISTAT – independence, regulatory capture and economic crisis

The communications sector in Italy is regulated by AGCOM. At the heart of this case is the issue of whether AGCOM can deliver impartial, independent and effective regulation when it is not only heavily dependent on the money it extracts from the companies it regulates but also at a time when the Italian State has imposed spending cuts on public bodies. The question in this case is whether AGCOM has found a legal way to escape the Italian State’s budget cuts by dint of AGCOM’s obligations under the EU’s ‘Authorisation’ Directive 2002/20/EC, and the EU’s ‘Framework’ communications networks Directive 2002/21/EC? More

Case C-276/15, Hecht-Pharma – incensed at the competition in Frankincense-extract capsules

Frankincense has been used by man for centuries. Its healing properties are recognised to this day and it is a normal ingredient which is present in many of the medicinal products dispensed by any pharmacy. However, pharma companies also use frankincense as an ingredient in the nutritional supplements which they sell to consumers. In this case, Hecht-Pharma objects to a German pharmacy which is making frankincense-extract capsules, and selling them in batches of 100 or 200 capsules. Hecht-Pharma claims that the pharmacy is trading unfairly and selling a medicine without a marketing authorisation. The pharmacy says that it is doing absolutely nothing wrong because frankincense-extract capsules have a particular status under German law. The question is whether German law complies with the EU’s Directive 2001/83/EC, which is the Community code regulating medicinal products for human use. More

Case C-277/15, Servoprax – challenging language obstacles to parallel imported medical products

Servoprax is wholesaler of medical products. Among the products it sells are blood glucose testing kits. Because those kits are imported into Germany, Servoprax gives them German labels and instructions. The question in this case is whether Servoprax’s labelling and instructions are clear enough to pass muster under the EU’s ‘in vitro diagnostic medical devices’ Directive 98/79. More

Case C-434/15, Asociación Profesional Élite Taxi – Uber’s new software destroys the old order of labour

Traditionally, people wanting to be driven from A to B could hail a cab on the street. Subsequently, cabs could be hailed by telephoning for one. Now it is possible to use a smartphone to organise an ‘electronic hail’. However, if the smartphone uses Uber’s software, then the car that comes to pick them up will not be a licensed taxi. The question is: can Uber’s new software destroy the old order of labour that governs the life of a taxi-driver, a legal order characterised by the state-licensing of taxi cabs? More

Case C-216/15, Betriebsrat der Ruhrlandklinik – stopping the sisters of merciless competition

A German clinic wants to hire-in nursing staff from the German Red Cross. It expects those nurses to be put to work on a non-temporary basis. However, the clinic’s plan is being blocked by the clinic’s works council. It points out that the plan breaches a rule in German law that says employees can only be seconded on a temporary basis. ‘Irrelevant’, the clinic would say, ‘the German rule only applies to employees, and since Red Cross nursing staff do not have a contract of employment they are not employees’. Is this literal reading of German law not contrary to the protective aim of the EU’s ‘temporary agency work’ Directive 2008/104/EC? More