CJEU - C-398/13 P / Judgment Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and Others v European Commission

Key facts of the case:

...ask the Court to set aside the judgment of the General Court of the European Union of 25 April 2013 in Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and Others v Commission (T‑526/10, EU:T:2013:215; the judgment under appeal’) by which the General Court dismissed their action for annulment of Commission Regulation (EU) No 737/2010 of 10 August 2010 laying down detailed rules for the implementation of Regulation (EC) No 1007/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council on trade in seal products (OJ 2010 L 216, p. 1; ‘the regulation at issue’) and for a declaration that Regulation (EC) No 1007/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 September 2009 on trade in seal products (OJ 2009 L 286, p. 36; ‘the basic regulation’) is inapplicable.

Results (sanctions) and key consequences of the case:

...the Court (Fifth Chamber) hereby:

  1. Dismisses the appeal;
  2. Orders Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, Nattivak Hunters’ and Trappers’ Organisation, Pangnirtung Hunters’ and Trappers’ Organisation, Mr Jaypootie Moesesie, Mr Allen Kooneeliusie, Mr Toomasie Newkingnak, Mr David Kuptana, Mrs Karliin Aariak, Canadian Seal Marketing Group, Ta Ma Su Seal Products Inc., Fur Institute of Canada, NuTan Furs Inc., GC Rieber Skinn AS, Inuit Circumpolar Council Greenland (ICC-Greenland), Mr Johannes Egede, Kalaallit Nunaanni Aalisartut Piniartullu Kattuffiat (KNAPK), William E. Scott & Son, Association des chasseurs de phoques des Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Hatem Yavuz Deri Sanayi iç Ve Diş Ticaret Ltd Şirketi and Northeast Coast Sealers’ Co-Operative Society Ltd to bear their own costs and to pay those incurred by the European Commission;
  3. Orders the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union to bear their own costs.
Paragraphs referring to EU Charter: 


45. Whilst, as Article 6(3) TEU confirms, fundamental rights recognised by the ECHR constitute general principles of the European Union’s law and whilst Article 52(3) of the Charter provides that the rights contained in the Charter which correspond to rights guaranteed by the ECHR are to have the same meaning and scope as those laid down by the ECHR, the latter does not constitute, as long as the European Union has not acceded to it, a legal instrument which has been formally incorporated into EU law (see, to this effect, judgments in Åkerberg Fransson, C‑617/10, EU:C:2013:105, paragraph 44; Schindler Holding and Others v Commission, C‑501/11 P, EU:C:2013:522, paragraph 32; and Telefónica and Telefónica de España v Commission, C‑295/12 P, EU:C:2014:2062, paragraph 41).

46. Thus, the General Court was correct in holding, in paragraph 105 of the judgment under appeal, that Articles 17, 7, 10 and 11 of the Charter secure in EU law the protection conferred by the provisions of the ECHR relied on by the appellants and that it is appropriate, in this instance, to base the examination of the validity of the basic regulation solely on the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Charter (see, to this effect, judgments in Otis and Others, C‑199/11, EU:C:2012:684, paragraph 47, and Ziegler v Commission, C‑439/11 P, EU:C:2013:513, paragraph 126 and the case-law cited). 


60. It should be pointed out that the protection of the right to property afforded by Article 17 of the Charter does not apply to mere commercial interests or opportunities, the uncertainties of which are part of the very essence of economic activity, but applies to rights with an asset value creating, under the legal system, an established legal position enabling the holder to exercise those rights autonomously and for his benefit (see judgment in Sky Österreich, C‑283/11, EU:C:2013:28, paragraph 34 and the case-law cited).

61. Likewise, it is apparent from the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights relating to Article 1 of Protocol No 1 to the ECHR, which should be taken into consideration in accordance with Article 52(3) of the Charter, that future income cannot be considered to constitute ‘possessions’ that may enjoy the protection of that article unless it has already been earned, it is definitely payable or there are specific circumstances that can cause the person concerned to entertain a legitimate expectation of obtaining an asset (see, in particular, European Court of Human Rights, Anheuser-Busch Inc. v. Portugal [GC], no. 73049/01, §§ 64 and 65, ECHR 2007-I, and Malik v. the United Kingdom, § 93).