Pastoors and Trans-Cap v Belgische Staat: ECJ 23 Jan 1997

ECJ Community law – Principles – Equal treatment – Discrimination on grounds of nationality – Road transport – Punishment of infringements of social provisions – National implementing legislation giving the offender the option between allowing criminal proceedings to take their course or paying a sum of money immediately – Obligation imposed only on non-residents to lodge a deposit, demanded separately in respect of each infringement, in default of which the vehicle is impounded – Not permissible
Article 6 of the Treaty precludes national legislation adopted in implementation of Regulation No 3820/85 on the harmonization of certain social legislation relating to road transport and of Regulation No 3821/85 on recording equipment in road transport which, in cases of infringement, imposes only on non-residents who opt for continuation of normal criminal proceedings against them rather than for immediate payment of the prescribed fine the obligation to lodge in respect of each offence by way of security for payment of the fine and any legal costs a fixed sum higher than that provided for in the case of immediate payment, in default of which their vehicle is impounded.
Although, in the absence of a convention to ensure the enforcement of court decisions in criminal matters between Member States, a difference in treatment between resident and non-resident offenders is objectively justified, the obligation imposed on the latter to pay a sum by way of security being appropriate to prevent them from avoiding an effective penalty, the penalties chosen by a Member State in the event of infringement of a Community regulation must not go beyond what is necessary in order to achieve the aim pursued. That will be so where, in respect of various infringements which are simultaneously found to exist and are mentioned in the same document, the sum payable by way of security is demanded separately for each infringement with which a non-resident offender is charged, in default of which the vehicle is impounded, even though the infringements all give rise to a single set of proceedings against him.


G.F. Mancini, P


C-29/95, [1997] EUECJ C-29/95




EC Treaty 6, Council Regulation 3820/85, Council Regulation 3821/85


Updated: 03 June 2022; Ref: scu.161508