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CJEU - Joined cases C 317/08, C 318/08, C 319/08 and C 320/08 / Judgment

Rosalba Alassini v Telecom Italia SpA, Filomena Califano v Wind SpA, Lucia Anna Giorgia Iacono v Telecom Italia SpA, and Multiservice Srl v Telecom Italia SpA

Deciding Body type:
Court of Justice of the European Union
Deciding Body:
European Court of Justice (Fourth Chamber)
Decision date:

Key facts of the case:

References for a preliminary ruling: Giudice di pace di Ischia - Italy.
Reference for a preliminary ruling - Principle of effective judicial protection - Electronic communications networks and services -Directive 2002/22/EC - Universal Service - Disputes between end-users and providers - Mandatory to attempt an out-of-court settlement.

Outcome of the case:

On those grounds, the Court (Fourth Chamber) hereby rules:

Article 34 of Directive 2002/22/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 March 2002 on Universal Service and users’ rights relating to electronic communications networks and services (Universal Service Directive) must be interpreted as not precluding legislation of a Member State under which the admissibility before the courts of actions relating to electronic communications services between end-users and providers of those services, concerning the rights conferred by that directive, is conditional upon an attempt to settle the dispute out of court.

Nor do the principles of equivalence and effectiveness or the principle of effective judicial protection preclude national legislation which imposes, in respect of such disputes, prior implementation of an out-of-court settlement procedure, provided that that procedure does not result in a decision which is binding on the parties, that it does not cause a substantial delay for the purposes of bringing legal proceedings, that it suspends the period for the time-barring of claims and that it does not give rise to costs – or gives rise to very low costs – for the parties, and only if electronic means is not the only means by which the settlement procedure may be accessed and interim measures are possible in exceptional cases where the urgency of the situation so requires.