Friday, May 4, 2012

United Kingdom v. Council (Working Time Directive) case brief

United Kingdom v. Council (Working Time Directive)
-UK challenged working time directive.  Stated that provision could not be regarded as minimum requirement if health/safety protection of works could be attained by measures that are less restrictive and involve fewer obstacles to competitiveness of industry and earning capacity of individuals.

-UK argues Council wrongly relied on Art 118 (enabling qualified majority voting) and should have relied on TFEU 352 or (then) 100, which required unanimity).
-UK argues that 118 permits only adoption of directives that have an objective link to health and safety of workers.  Too tenuous.
-Even though the measure had ancillary effects on the establishment and functioning of the market, court says 118a must be used, as PRINCIPAL aim was protection of health and safety of workers.  
-Look at objective: even though directive affects employment, that is not its main objective.
-Council could not explain why Sunday was a better rest day than any other, so court got rid of it, but upheld the directive otherwise. --

-Council must be allowed a wide discretion in an area which, as here, involves the legislature making social policy choices and requires it to carry out complex assessments.  Judicial review of the exercise of that discretion must therefore be limited to examining whether it has been vitiated by manifest error or misuse of powers, or whether the institution concerned has manifestly exceeded the limits of its discretion.
-Court holds for Council, states that it did not make any error in concluding contested measures were necessary to achieve the objective of protecting health and safety of workers.
The Principles of Equal Treatment and Non-Discrimination
[TFEU 18] forbids any discrimination on grounds of nationality within the scope of application of the Treaty.
-Court readily strikes down:  
1.  Direct discrimination based on nationality.
2.  Indirect discrimination (national rules that discriminate on basis of residents - Clean Car case, 565, or require discriminatory fees for access to education from students from other States, or discriminate against providers or recipients of trans-border services.
3.  Discrimination where nationality is not an issue (next case).

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