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Francovich principle


The European Court of Justice developed a general principle of state responsibility for compliance with EC law in a case in the field of employment rights: Andrea Francovich and Others v. Italian Republic, Joined Cases C-6/90 and C-9/90 and C-9/90, [1991] ECR I-5357. The resulting principle of state liability is called the Francovich principle of state liability.

In Andrea Francovich and Others v. Italian Republic, workers who suffered damage when their employer became insolvent were entitled to compensation under an EC directive (Directive 80/987/EEC), which required Member States to secure their protection. Since Italy had failed to implement the directive, the individual workers brought a claim before their national courts for compensation for the damage they had suffered due to this failure.

Since state liability is enforced through national courts, the ECJ stipulated that national procedures should determine how state liability is enforced. The procedures for claiming damages from the state before national courts must comply with the principles of equivalence (to those procedures available for similar claims for damages) and effectiveness (to secure that EC law is respected). So long as it respects these two principles, the Member State can prescribe its own procedures for claims as regards, for example, proof and time limits.

See also: emanations of the state; EC/EU law; infringements of EC law.


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Page last updated: 12 March, 2007