CIA Security International v Signalson and Securitel: ECJ 30 Apr 1996

1. Under the procedure provided for by Article 177 of the Treaty, it is for the national court to assess the scope of national provisions and the manner in which they are to be applied. Since the national court is best placed to assess, in view of the particularities of the case, the need for a preliminary ruling in order to give its judgment, preliminary questions cannot be regarded as having become redundant as a result of national legislation being replaced by other legislation.
2. A national provision according to which only persons with prior ministerial authorization may operate a security firm does not constitute a technical regulation within the meaning of Article 1 of the Directive 83/189, laying down a procedure for the provision of information in the field of technical standards and regulations, in so far as such a provision merely lays down the conditions for the establishment of security firms and contains no specifications defining the characteristics of products.
On the other hand, provisions laying down the procedure for approval of alarm systems and networks which security firms may make available to consumers do constitute such technical regulations in so far as such provisions lay down detailed rules defining in particular the conditions concerning the quality tests and function tests which must be fulfilled in order for an alarm system or network to be approved and marketed in the national territory.
In the case of a rule which provides that the products in question may be marketed only after having being previously approved according to a procedure to be laid down by administrative regulation, classification of such a rule depends on its legal effects under domestic law. If, under domestic law, such a rule merely serves as a basis for enabling administrative regulations containing rules binding on the persons concerned to be adopted, so that by itself it has no legal effect for individuals, the rule does not constitute a technical regulation within the meaning of the directive. If, however, it obliges the undertakings concerned to apply for prior approval of their equipment, it must be classified as a technical regulation, even if the administrative rules envisaged have not been adopted.
3. Articles 8 and 9 of Directive 83/189, laying down a procedure for the provision of information in the field of technical standards and regulations, under which Member States must notify the Commission of all draft technical regulations covered by the directive and, except in particular urgent cases, suspend their adoption and implementation for specified periods, are to be interpreted as meaning that individuals may rely on them before the national court, which must decline to apply a national technical regulation which has not been notified in accordance with the directive.
First, by laying down a precise obligation on Member States to notify draft technical regulations before they are adopted, those provisions are unconditional and sufficiently precise in terms of their content. Secondly, an interpretation of the directive to the effect that breach of the obligation to notify constitutes a substantial defect such as to render the technical regulations in question inapplicable to individuals is such as to ensure the effectiveness of the preventive Community control for which the directive made provision in order to ensure that goods can move freely, which is what it was designed to do.
4. Article 30 of the Treaty does not preclude a national provision according to which only persons with prior ministerial authorization may operate a security firm. Since such a provision imposes a condition for the establishment and carrying on of business as a security firm, it does not fall within the scope of Article 30.
C-194/94, [1996] EUECJ C-194/94, [1996] ECR I-2201
Bailii
European
Cited by:
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Updated: 05 January 2021; Ref: scu.161387