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Case C-84/94 UK v Council (Working Time Directive) [1996]


  • A directive limiting working weeks to 48 hours in length was adopted on a “health and safety of workers” legal basis requiring a special legislative procedure to be followed, where the European Parliament could not block it
  • The directive also had economic effects, so may well have been adopted under Art 114 TFEU, which would have given more power to the European Parliament
  • The UK sought to annul the Directive for being based on the wrong legal basis


  • Was it correct to adopt the directive on the health and safety of workers legal basis?


  • Yes


  • As the principal purpose of the directive was the health and safety of workers, it was validly adopted and could not be annulled; its economic effects were merely ancillary
  • As the two legal bases were not equally applicable, the question of Parliamentary involvement did not arise, following the rules set out in Titanium Dioxide [1991]
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