Volume 12 (2017) / Issue 6
The Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union introduced a new admissibility test to determine when economic operators are able to challenge the validity of EU acts of general application, such as EU customs-related measures, ‘directly’ before the Court of Justice of the EU (‘action for annulment’). Prior to the introduction of this new test, the position in practice was that economic operators had to challenge EU measures of general application ‘indirectly’. An ‘indirect challenge’ was made by bringing an appeal against national measures applying the EU act, before the court of an EU Member State, which could then refer a question on the validity of the underlying EU measure to the Court of Justice of the EU (‘request for a preliminary ruling’). This article examines the case law of the Court of Justice of the EU concerning the application of the new admissibility test to EU customs-related measures between 2011 and the first half of 2017. The author takes the view that the new test has unfortunately been interpreted in an overly restrictive manner, thus continuing to deny economic operators direct access to the Court of Justice in customs-related cases. The author also examines how economic operators will need to proceed in order to challenge the validity of EU customs measures.
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