Did the court of last resort apply the CJEU preliminary ruling correctly? In case of EU law breach, what to do in the absence of domestic remedy? – A first appraisal of the pending case F. Hoffmann-La Roche and Others

Cinzia Peraro  (Senior Researcher of European Union Law, University of Bergamo - Italy)
 

I. Background

The Italian administrative judge of last resort (Consiglio di Stato) submitted on 21 April 2021[1] a request for a preliminary ruling in the case F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd and Others v Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (C-261/21).

This case falls within the long-running Avastin-Lucentis affair that concerns an agreement restricting competition concluded in breach of Article 101 TFEU between certain companies operating in the pharmaceutical sector. The Italian Antitrust Authority prohibited the continuation of the contested conduct and imposed administrative fines. The companies appealed against this measure before the administrative judge, who rejected them. Within the proceedings at second instance, the Council of State referred a number of preliminary questions of interpretation to the Court of Justice. After the preliminary ruling delivered on 23 January 2018 (C-179/16), the Italian administrative judge dismissed the appeals, thus upholding the decision at first instance and, accordingly, the contested measure. However, the parties asked the Council of State to revoke its appeal judgment, alleging, inter alia, a manifest breach of the principles of law affirmed by the Court of Justice in the previous preliminary ruling and asking to make a new referral to Luxembourg. The administrative judge thus suspended the proceedings and, for a second time, referred to the Court of Justice other three questions.

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Case law Pebros Servizi concerning the European enforcement order for uncontested claims – The enforcement procedure as the next phase… Novelty or reality?

 

by Joana Covelo de Abreu, Junior Editor
  1. The dispute in the main proceedings

Pebros Servizi sued before an Italian national court several companies and, among them, we could find Aston Martin. However, the latter was duly noticed to present itself in court allowing it to participate in those proceedings, what did not happen. Aston Martin was condemned in absentia to pay to Pebros Servizi the total amount of 18.000,00€ “together with interest at the statutory rate running from the publication of the judgment until payment in full and the legal costs, comprising EUR 835 for sundry expenses and EUR 9 500 for professional fees, plus VAT and other incidental social security expenses under national law”[i].

Aston Martin did not present any appeal and that judgement became final.

On October 2014, Pebros Servizi asked that Italian court to certify that decision as a European enforcement order. However, that court expressed its doubts concerning using Regulation 805/2004 enforcement order in such a case. Those doubts derived from the fact that, in Italian law, a judgment made in default of the defendant does not mean the latter recognises the facts brought against him in the litigation. So, national court had doubts if “a judgment in default [might] be regarded as a judgment for an uncontested claim”[ii]. In this sense, national court called upon two doctrinal positions: 1) One, based on national law, where a default procedure does not amount for an uncontested claim; 2) Another, where “that concept of ‘absence of contestation’ is defined autonomously by EU law and covers also a failure to appear during proceedings”[iii].

Continue reading “Case law Pebros Servizi concerning the European enforcement order for uncontested claims – The enforcement procedure as the next phase… Novelty or reality?”