Van Gend & Loos v Netherlands Inland Revenue Administration Case 26-62

The Court was asked by a Netherlands administrative tribunal having final jurisdiction in revenue cases, for a preliminary ruling in the action pending before that court between N.V. Algemene Transport and Nederlandse Administratie der Belastingen on the following question: Whether article 12 of the EEC Treaty has direct application within the territory of a member state, in other words, whether nationals of such a state can, on the basis of the article in question, lay claim to individual tights which the courts must protect “Article 12.- Member States shall refrain form introducing between themselves any new customs duties on imports or exports or any charges having equivalent effect, and from increasing those which they already apply in their trade with each other”

B.- … to ascertain whether the provision of an international treaty extend so far in their effects it is necessary to considerer the spirit, the general scheme and the wording of those provision. The objective of the EEC Treaty, which is to establish a common market, the functioning of which is of direct concern to interested parties in the community, implies that this treaty is more than an agreement which merely creates mutual obligations between the contracting states. this view is confirmed by the preamble to the treaty which refers not only to governments but to peoples. It is also confirmed more specifically by the establishment of institutions endowed with sovereign rights, the exercise of which affects member states and also their citizens. Furthermore, it must be noted that the nationals of the states brought together in the community are called upon to cooperate in the functioning of this community…. In addition the task assigned to the Court of Justice under article 177, the object of which is to secure uniform interpretation of the treaty by national courts and tribunals, confirms that the states have acknowledged that community law has an authority which can be invoked by their national before those courts and tribunals. The conclusion to be drawn from this is that the community constitutes a new legal order of international law for the benefit of which the states have limited their sovereign rights….. community law therefore not only imposes obligations on individuals but is also intended to confer upon them rights which become part of their legal heritage ….. the wording of article 12 contains a clear and unconditional prohibition…. The implementation of article 12 dos not require any legislative intervention of the part of the states… article 12 must be interpreted as producing direct effects and creating individual rights which national courts must protect