Van Duyn v Home Office

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Van Duyn v Home Office
European stars.svg
Submitted 1 March 1974
Decided 4 December 1974
Full case nameYvonne van Duyn v Home Office.
Case numberC-41/74
Case TypeReference for a preliminary ruling
Nationality of partiesThe Netherlands
United Kingdom
Procedural history[1975] Ch 358
Court composition
Max Sørensen
Advocate General
Henri Mayras
Legislation affecting
Arts. 48 and 177 TEEC

Van Duyn v Home Office (1974) C-41/74 was a case of the European Court of Justice concerning the free movement of workers between member states.[1]


Yvonne van Duyn, a Dutch national, claimed the British Government, through the Home Secretary, infringed TFEU article 45(3) (then TEEC art 48(3)) by denying her an entry permit to work at the Church of Scientology. The Free Movement of Workers Directive 64/221/EC article 3(1) also set out that a public policy provision had to be 'based exclusively on the personal conduct of the individual concerned'. The UK had not done anything to expressly implement this element of the Directive. The government had believed Scientology to be harmful to mental health, and discouraged it but did not make it illegal. She sued, citing the Treaty of Rome and Community law, arguing that the Directive should apply to bind the UK. She was not being refused because of 'personal conduct'. Pennycuick VC referred the case to the European Court of Justice. The Home Office argued the provision was not directly effective, because it left the Government the discretion to apply exceptions to free movement.


The European Court of Justice held that van Duyn could be denied entry if it was for reasons related to her personal conduct, as outlined in the Directive 64/22/EEC. TEEC article 48 was directly effective, even though the application of the provision was 'subject to judicial control'. Furthermore, the Directive was directly effective against the UK government. First, it would be incompatible with the binding effect of Directives to exclude the possibility of direct effect. Second, the practical efficacy of the Directive would be reduced unless individuals could invoke them before national courts. Third, because the ECJ has jurisdiction to give preliminary rulings under TFEU article 267 (then TEEC article 177) on 'acts of the institutions... of the Union' this implied all acts should be directly effective.

Crucially, the ECJ proceeded to permit the UK's derogation, thereby approving (on this occasion) the UK's decision to ban Ms Duyn because Scientology was then deemed by the UK to be harmful and undesirable:


This case was decided in 1974, soon after the UK's accession to the EEC on 1 January 1973; and John Tillotson [2][3] considers that the ECJ took an indulgent view towards its new Member State, allowing the UK to get away with its somewhat dubious derogation against Scientologists. It follows that the van Duyn case would not be a reliable basis to permit the introduction of future blanket derogations.

Three years after the van Duyn case, in R v Bouchereau, [4][5] the ECJ took a firmer line, declaring that before anyone could be lawfully refused entry (or deported), the state must demonstrate that person's activities to be socially harmful.[6]

In 1980, after a parliamentary review, the British Government abandoned its policy of discouraging Scientology.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Volcansek, Mary L. (1997). Law Above Nations. University Press of Florida. pp. 39–40. ISBN 978-0-8130-1537-8.
  2. ^ "Text, Cases and Materials on European Union Law" - John Tillotson & Nigel Foster
  3. ^ John Tillotson was a lecturer in EU law and Business Law at Sheffield Hallam University and Manchester University.
  4. ^ R v Pierre Bouchereau ECJ 27 OCT 1977
  5. ^ Case report [1]
  6. ^ Steiner and Woods pg 553