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Case C-188/89 Foster v British Gas [1990]


  • Mrs Foster claimed that her forcible retirement at the age of 60 contravened the Equal treatment directive [2006/54/EC], as her male counterparts could work for an additional 5 years
  • In order to assert this claim, as directives only have vertical effect, Mrs Foster would have to prove that British Gas was an organ of the state


  • Was British gas an organ of the state (the UK)?


  • Yes


  • The organisation was publicly run and was responsible for a public service
  • Organs of the state may:
    • Have powers greater than those afforded to individuals
    • Be subject to the authority or control of the state
  • This result would still be same today, now British Gas has been privatised, as confirmed in Kampelmann [1997]
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