Procureur du Roi v Dassonville

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Submitted February 2 1974
Decided July 11 1974
Full case name Procureur du Roi v Benoît and Gustave Dassonville
Case number 8/74
Nationality of parties Belgium
1. A requirement of a member state of a certificate of authenticity, less easily obtainable by importers of an authentic product, put into free circulation regularly in a member state other than by importers of the same product coming directly from the country of origin constitutes a measure has an effect equivalent to a quantitative restriction, prohibited by the treaty.

2. The fact that an agreement merely authorizes the concessionaire to such a national rule or does not prohibit him from doing so does not suffice in itself to render the agreement null and void.
Legislation affecting
Interprets articles 30 and 85 TEC
Measures having equivalent effect

Procureur du Roi v Benoît and Gustave Dassonville,[1] usually referred to simply as Dassonville, was a case in the European Court of Justice, in which a 'distinctly applicable measure of equivalent effect' to a quantitative restriction of trade in the European Union was held to exist on a Scotch whisky imported from France.


Belgium had a rule preventing the sale of products such as Scotch whisky without a certificate of authenticity. The trader had purchased his whisky in France, where no such measure existed, and so made his own certificate of authenticity. The trader was accused of forging the certificate and was held by the Belgian court to be in breach of the law. The trader argued that this represented a quantitative restriction on trade, which would be in breach of Article 28 EC of the Treaty of Rome, now Article 34 TFEU. The Belgian court referred the case to the European Court of Justice, as is permitted under Article 267 of the Treaty on the functioning of the European Union (at the time 234 EC).


The court held that the Belgian legislation requiring the certificate of authenticity represented a measure having equivalent effect of restricting trade and in breach of article 28 of the Treaty (now article 34 TFEU). The restriction meant that it was perfectly possible for a French seller of Scotch whisky to sell the whisky, but a short distance away in Belgium, a trader selling the same whisky would be subject to restrictions that would effectively create a restriction on their ability to compete with the French trader.

The court stated:

"All trading rules enacted by Member States which are capable of hindering, directly or indirectly, actually or potentially, intra-Community trade are to be considered as measures having an effect equivalent to quantitative restrictions"

Horspool and Humphreys note that this decision could include a "huge" range of restrictions[2] and that the court has sought to limit the scope of the Dassonville decision, in cases such as Cassis de Dijon, which was decided a few years later.


  1. ^ EURLex case 8-74
  2. ^ Horspool, Margot; Humphreys, Matthew (2008). European Union Law (5th ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 316–317. ISBN 978-0-19-923419-6. 

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