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Case C-479/93 Francovich [1995]


  • Directive [2008/94/EC] gives protection to employees, allowing them to make privileged claims against insolvent employers
  • Italy failed to implement this directive
  • Francovich’s employer became insolvent, owing money (wages) to Francovich and other employees


  • Could Francovich recover unpaid money?


  • Yet, but from the Italian government, not from his employer


  • Directives are not horizontally directly effective, so could not be relied on
  • There was no existing law to ‘stretch’ to enable Francovich’s claim, so the doctrine of indirect effect could not be used
  • As Member States are obliged to implement EU law as required, the wrongdoing was on the part of the Italian Government, from which Francovich could recover
  • This case created the doctrine of state liability, which provided that a citizen may recover compensation from their own Member State where:
    • There is a directive intended to confer rights on the citizen
    • The directive’s content is clear
    • There is a causal link between a state’s incorrect/absence of interpretation and the citizen’s loss
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