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Today in legal history...

Friday, August 26, 2011

German Constitutional Court ruled EU court precedent binding
Dwyer Arce at 12:00 AM ET

On August 26, 2010, the German Federal Constitutional Court ruled that German courts must follow precedent established by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) unless it is clearly a violation of the court's power. The court noted that minor violations of the ECJ's authority would not be enough to disqualify a ruling and that a ruling can be disregarded only if European institutions clearly violate the authority granted to them at the expense of the authority of the member states. The court's ruling came in a case involving a German law that made it easier to limit the employment contracts of workers over the age of 52, which ultimately led younger workers to be better protected by their employment contracts. The ECJ ruled that the law was in violation of an EU general principal against age discrimination. A dissenting opinion in the ruling stated that allowing ECJ opinions to set precedent for the member states significantly shifted the structure of power.

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