Courage Ltd and Crehan v Crehan and Courage Ltd and Others: ECJ 20 Sep 2001

The company had leased a public house to the respondent. The lease was subject to a tie, under which the respondent had to purchase supplies from the company. The company came to sue for the price of beer supplied. The respondent asserted that the tie agreement was unlawful, because the company sold beer to non-tied houses at lower prices, and so was anti-competitive. He also claimed damages.
Held: The agreement was automatically void under the article which embodies a fundamental principle of EU law. Nevertheless it was for each member state to put in place laws which dealt with the consequences of such illegality on the parties. The English law preventing a party to a an illegal agreement relying upon it where it was established that that party bore significant responsibility for the distortion of competition. ‘It follows that this court must rule in the abstract on a situation where a breach of article 81 EC has caused loss to one of the parties to the agreement. The question whether this abstract situation corresponds to the facts in the case is a question to be decided later by the referring court and does not concern this court.’
‘The full effectiveness of article 85 of the Treaty and, in particular, the practical effect of the prohibition laid down in article 85(1) would be put at risk if it were not open to any individual to claim damages for loss caused to him by a contract or by conduct liable to restrict or distort competition.’ and ‘However, in the absence of Community rules governing the matter, it is for the domestic legal system of each member state to designate the courts and tribunals having jurisdiction and to lay down the detailed procedural rules governing actions for safeguarding rights which individuals derive directly from Community law, provided that such rules are not less favourable than those governing similar domestic actions (principle of equivalence) and that they do not render practically impossible or excessively difficult the exercise of rights conferred by Community law (principle of effectiveness).’


GC Rodriguez Iglesias, President and Judges C. Gulmann, M. Wathelet, V. Skouris, D. A. O. Edward, P. Jann, L. Sevon, F. Macken, N. Colneric, J. N. Cunha Rodrigues and C. W. A. Timmermans Advocate General J. Mischo


Times 04-Oct-2001, C-453/99, [2002] QB 507, [2001] EUECJ C-453/99, [2001] 5 CMLR 28, [2002] ICR 457, [2001] ECR I-6297, , [2001] 3 WLR 1646, [2001] All ER (EC) 886, [2002] UKCLR 171, [2001] CEC 297, [2001] ECR I-6314




EC Treaty 81




Appeal fromCourage Ltd v Crehan; The Inntrepreneur Beer Supply Co Ltd v Byrne; Same v Langton; Greenalls Management Ltd v Smith; Walker Cain Ltd v McCaughey CA 14-Jun-1999
There is not to be read into a beer tie term any implied provision that the beer to be supplied under the term was to be supplied at any kind of advantageous price. A tenant seeking damages for failure to supply under such a term was not entitled to . .
Remitted toCrehan v Inntrepreneur Pub Company (Cpc), Brewman Group Limited ChD 26-Jun-2003
The landlord had signed agreements tieing him to sales of beers. After falling into debt, he challnged the prices he had been obliged to pay as contravening the Treaty. The European Court had held that there was a possible claim under the Treaty. . .
CitedS A Brasserie de Haecht v Consorts Wilkin-Janssen ECJ 12-Dec-1967
ECJ 1. Policy of the EEC- competition – agreements between undertakings – prohibition in article 85(1) – consideration of the economic and legal context 2. Policy of the EEC – competition – agreements which may . .
CitedStergios Delimitis v Henninger Brau AG ECJ 28-Feb-1991
ECJ A beer supply agreement is prohibited by Article 85(1) of the EEC Treaty if two cumulative conditions are met. The first is that, having regard to the economic and legal context of the agreement at issue, it . .
See AlsoCourage Limited v Crehan ChD 25-Nov-1998
. .
See AlsoCrehan v Courage Limited and Byrne and Inntrepreneur Beer Supply Co Ltd and Langton v Inntrepreneur Beer Supply Co Ltd CA 27-May-1999
The court considered the validity of beer ties affecting public houses. . .

Cited by:

Remitted fromCrehan v Inntrepreneur Pub Company (Cpc), Brewman Group Limited ChD 26-Jun-2003
The landlord had signed agreements tieing him to sales of beers. After falling into debt, he challnged the prices he had been obliged to pay as contravening the Treaty. The European Court had held that there was a possible claim under the Treaty. . .
At ECJInntrepreneur Pub Company (CPC) and others v Crehan HL 19-Jul-2006
The tenant had taken on pub leases with ties requiring him to buy beer from companies associated with the landlords. The European Commission had issued a decision and the House was asked whether this was binding on the parties.
Held: . .
At ECJCrehan v Inntrepreneur Pub Company (CPC) CA 21-May-2004
The claimant had taken two leases, but had been made subject to beer ties with the defendant. He claimed damages for the losses, saying he had been forced to pay higher prices than those allowed to non-tied houses, and that the agreement was . .
CitedDevenish Nutrition Ltd and others v Sanofi-Aventis SA (France) and others ChD 19-Oct-2007
The claimant sought damages for the losses it had suffered as a result of price fixing by the defendant companies in the vitamin market. The European Commission had already fined the defendant for its involvement.
Held: In an action for breach . .
CitedOracle America Inc v M-Tech Data Ltd SC 27-Jun-2012
The appellant complained that the respondent had imported into the European Economic Area disk drives bearing its trade marks in breach of the appellant’s rights. The respondent had argued that the appellant had abused its position by withholding . .
CitedEmerald Supplies Ltd and Others v British Airways Plc ChD 4-Oct-2017
EC has sole jurisdiction over old cartels
Several claimants alleged that the defendant airway had been part of a cartel which had overcharged for freight services. The court now heard arguments about whether it had jurisdition to deal with claims which preceded the measures which had . .
CitedPatel v Mirza SC 20-Jul-2016
The claimant advanced funds to the respondent for him to invest in a bank of which the claimant had insider knowledge. In fact the defendant did not invest the funds, the knowledge was incorrect. The defendant however did not return the sums . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Contract, Commercial

Updated: 29 April 2022; Ref: scu.166211