Case C-681/16, Pfizer Ireland – Specific Mechanism suppresses drug circulation

The internal market in pharmaceuticals can be partitioned by EU law. For example, the EU’s ‘Specific Mechanism’ will sometimes allow patent holders to stop the import of drugs into the ‘old’ Member States from the ‘new’ Member States, where prices are markedly lower. In this case, the drug company patent holder Pfizer wants to stop cheap imports of a psoriasis and arthritis drug from entering into Germany – and to that end, it has invoked the Specific Mechanism. In contrast, the importer contends that the Specific Mechanism does not apply; consequently, the EU principle of the free movement of goods should be allowed to operate. More

Case C-569/16, Bauer – an heir’s accrued leave rights post-Bollacke but contra legem

After the CJEU’s labour law Bollacke judgment, if a worker had accrued paid annual leave but had died before taking it, then it looked like the heir to his estate could claim a cash equivalent from the employer. Yet the effect of this new EU labour law right seems to be drained by old German inheritance law. Thus, what is a German labour law judge to do? Applying the EU’s ‘working time’ Directive 2003/88/EC or Article 31(2) of the EU Charter would clearly be contra legem so there is no obligation on the national court to give effect to it. However, if EU labour law prevails, then does it matter that the employer was a public body (Case C-569/16) or a private company (Case C-570/16)? More

Case C-537/16, Garlsson Real Estate – ne bis in idem

Seemingly irrespective of whether Italy’s criminal courts convict or acquit someone of insider share dealing, Italy’s stock exchange regulator will also issue a fine using administrative law. Is this not contrary to the legal principle of ‘ne bis in idem’? More

Case C-594/16, Buccioni – Dear Central Bank, Documents please. Regards, Mr E. Swindled

It is a mystery why banks fail: banks are regulated by a state’s central bank. In this case, a saver lost a lot of money in the 2012 Italian banking crash. Initial research suggested the central bank might indeed have done something wrong. Consequently, the saver asked it for specific documents so that he could calculate his legal position and assert his rights. His request was refused. The legal question is: was the central bank legally right to refuse his request? If so, the state could swindle the saver out of his money and his legal rights. More

Case C-631/16, Timberland Europe – puts its boot into retroactive anti-dumping Regs

Your footwear may have started out life in China or Vietnam. Consequently, companies may have paid EU anti-dumping duties on them. Unsurprisingly, international capital wants to put the boot into this EU law. Surprisingly though, there may be some legal justification for this – the EU Commission appears to ignore EU law. Early last year, the CJEU held aspects of the EU’s anti-dumping footwear Regulations to be illegal and invalid. The Commission then announced a plan for new laws. But the plan’s legality was promptly queried in a German court and a preliminary reference quickly made (C-256/16, Deichmann). Undeterred, the Commission promulgated its new Regulations. Now Dutch judges are anticipating the illegality of those very Regulations and are asking the CJEU how to calculate the compensation (C-631/16, Timberland Europe). A great deal of money is at stake because even luxury branded leather boots, shoes and trainers may either have been made in China or be the fruit of Chinese-outsourced work and parts coming from Vietnam. More