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CJEU - C 617/10 / Judgment

Åklagaren v Hans Åkerberg Fransson

Deciding Body type:
Court of Justice of the European Union
Deciding Body:
General Court (Grand Chamber)
Decision date:
Key facts of the case:
  1. This request for a preliminary ruling concerns the interpretation of the ne bis in idem principle in European Union law.
  2. The request has been made in the context of a dispute between the Åklagaren (Public Prosecutor’s Office) and Mr Åkerberg Fransson concerning proceedings brought by the Public Prosecutor’s Office for serious tax offences.
Results (sanctions) and key consequences of the case:
  1. The ne bis in idem principle laid down in Article 50 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union does not preclude a Member State from imposing successively, for the same acts of non‑compliance with declaration obligations in the field of value added tax, a tax penalty and a criminal penalty in so far as the first penalty is not criminal in nature, a matter which is for the national court to determine.
  2. European Union law does not govern the relations between the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, signed in Rome on 4 November 1950, and the legal systems of the Member States, nor does it determine the conclusions to be drawn by a national court in the event of conflict between the rights guaranteed by that convention and a rule of national law.

European Union law precludes a judicial practice which makes the obligation for a national court to disapply any provision contrary to a fundamental right guaranteed by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union conditional upon that infringement being clear from the text of the Charter or the case-law relating to it, since it withholds from the national court the power to assess fully, with, as the case may be, the cooperation of the Court of Justice of the European Union, whether that provision is compatible with the Charter.