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Document 61973CJ0139

Title and reference
Judgment of the Court of 22 November 1973.
Einfuhr- und Vorratsstelle für Getreide und Futtermittel v Eugen Münch.
Reference for a preliminary ruling: Hessischer Verwaltungsgerichtshof - Germany.
Periods and time-limits.
Case 139-73.

European Court Reports 1973 -01287
  • ECLI identifier: ECLI:EU:C:1973:128
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61973J0139

Judgment of the Court of 22 November 1973. - Einfuhr- und Vorratsstelle für Getreide und Futtermittel v Eugen Münch. - Reference for a preliminary ruling: Hessischer Verwaltungsgerichtshof - Germany. - Periods and time-limits. - Case 139-73.

European Court reports 1973 Page 01287
Greek special edition Page 00765
Portuguese special edition Page 00485


Summary
Parties
Subject of the case
Grounds
Decision on costs
Operative part

Keywords


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1 . PERIOD, DATE AND TIME LIMIT - MEANING

( REGULATION OF THE COUNCIL NO 1182/71, ARTICLE 3 )

2 . AGRICULTURE - COMMON WHEAT - CARRY-OVER PAYMENTS - GRANT - CONDITIONS - NO PERIOD OR DATE WITHIN THE MEANING OF REGULATION NO 1182/71 OF THE COUNCIL

( REGULATION OF THE COMMISSION NO 1196/71, ARTICLE 3 )

Summary


1 . IT APPEARS FROM THE CONTEXT OF ARTICLE 3 OF REGULATION NO 1182/71 OF THE COUNCIL THAT THE CONCEPT OF A PERIOD IS TO BE INTERPRETED AS MEANING AN INTERVAL OF TIME EXPRESSED IN HOURS, DAYS, WEEKS, MONTHS OR YEARS, WITHOUT REFERENCE TO A GIVEN DATE OR EVENT .

THE MENTION OF A SPECIFIED FINAL DATE UPON WHICH AN EVENT MUST OCCUR OR AN ACTION BE EFFECTED CORRESPONDS TO THE CONCEPT OF A TIME LIMIT AS PROVIDED BY ARTICLES 4 AND 5 OF REGULATION NO 1182/71 AND IS NOT TO BE INTERPRETED AS A PERIOD WITHIN THE MEANING OF ARTICLE 3 OF THAT REGULATION .

2 . ARTICLE 3, LAST INDENTATION, OF REGULATION NO 1196/71 LAYS DOWN NEITHER A PERIOD NOR A DATE WITHIN THE MEANING OF REGULATION NO 1182/71 .

Parties


IN CASE 139/73

REFERENCE TO THE COURT UNDER ARTICLE 177 OF THE EEC TREATY BY THE HESSISCHER VERWALTUNGSGERICHTSHOF FOR A PRELIMINARY RULING IN THE ACTION PENDING BEFORE THAT COURT BETWEEN

EINFUHR - UND VORRATSSTELLE FUER GETREIDE UND FUTTERMITTEL, FRANKFURT-AM-MAIN, ADICKESALLEE 1,

AND

EUGEN MUENCH, GETREIDEMUEHLE, HORGEN, UNTERBERGSTRASSE 38,

Subject of the case


ON THE INTERPRETATION OF ARTICLE 3 OF REGULATION NO 1196/71 OF THE COMMISSION OF 8 JUNE 1971 ( OJ L 125, 9 . 6 . 1971, P . 12 ), ON THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE GRANT OF CARRY-OVER PAYMENTS FOR COMMON WHEAT, AND OF ARTICLE 3 OF REGULATION NO 1182/71 OF THE COUNCIL OF 3 JUNE 1971 ( OJ L 124, 8 . 6 . 1971, P . 1 ) LAYING DOWN THE RULES FOR PERIODS, DATES AND TIME LIMITS .

Grounds


1 BY ORDER OF 11 MAY 1973, LODGED AT THE REGISTRY OF THE COURT ON 4 JUNE 1973, THE HESSISCHER VERWALTUNGSGERICHTSHOF REFERRED THREE QUESTIONS PURSUANT TO ARTICLE 177 OF THE TREATY ESTABLISHING THE EEC AS TO THE INTERPRETATION OF ARTICLE 3 - LAST INDENTATION - OF REGULATION NO 1196/71 OF THE COMMISSION OF 8 JUNE 1971 ( OJ L 125, 9 . 6 . 1971, P . 12 ) ON THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE GRANT OF CARRY-OVER PAYMENTS FOR CERTAIN CEREALS HELD IN STOCK AT THE END OF THE 1970/71 MARKETING SEASON, AND OF ARTICLES 3 AND 5 OF REGULATION NO 1182/71 OF THE COUNCIL OF 3 JUNE 1971 ( OJ L 124, 8 . 6 . 1971, P . 1 ) DETERMINING THE RULES APPLICABLE TO PERIODS, DATES AND TIME LIMITS .

2 THE FIRST QUESTION ASKS WHETHER THE EXPRESSION " DESPATCHED ON 7 AUGUST 1971 AT THE LATEST " IN ARTICLE 3 OF REGULATION NO 1196/71 FIXES A PERIOD WITHIN THE MEANING OF ARTICLE 3 OF REGULATION NO 1182/71 .

3 ACCORDING TO ARTICLE 1 OF THE LAST-NAMED REGULATION, ITS PROVISIONS APPLY TO ACTS OF THE COUNCIL AND OF THE COMMISSION WHICH " HAVE BEEN OR WILL BE PASSED " PURSUANT TO THE TREATY ESTABLISHING THE EUROPEAN ECONOMIC COMMUNITY OR THE EURATOM TREATY .

THEREFORE, ALTHOUGH INTRODUCED SUBSEQUENTLY TO REGULATION NO 1196/71, IT DOES APPLY TO THE LATTER .

4 REGULATION NO 1182/71 LAYS DOWN GENERAL, UNIFORM RULES WITH REGARD TO PERIODS, DATES AND TIME LIMITS AND DISTINGUISHES, IN THIS RESPECT, BETWEEN PERIODS, WHICH ARE COVERED BY ARTICLES 2 AND 3, AND DATES AND TIME LIMITS, WHICH ARE COVERED BY ARTICLES 4 AND 5 .

AS REGARDS PERIODS, THE REGULATION EXTENDS THOSE OF WHICH THE LAST DAY FALLS ON A SATURDAY, A SUNDAY OR A PUBLIC HOLIDAY; THIS RULE IS NOT REPRODUCED IN ARTICLES 4 AND 5 .

THE CONTEXT OF ARTICLE 3 SHOWS THAT THE CONCEPT OF A PERIOD IS TO BE TAKEN TO MEAN AN INTERVAL OF TIME EXPRESSED IN HOURS, DAYS, WEEKS, MONTHS OR YEARS WITHOUT REFERENCE TO A SPECIFIED DATE OR EVENT .

5 THE APPARENT DEROGATION WITH REGARD TO PERIODS CALCULATED " RETROACTIVELY FROM A GIVEN DATE OR EVENT ", CONTAINED IN THE SECOND PARAGRAPH OF ARTICLE 3 ( 4 ), CONFIRMS THIS INTERPRETATION, SINCE SUCH PERIODS CANNOT BE EXTENDED AND ARE ACCORDINGLY EQUATED WITH DATES AND TIME LIMITS WITHIN THE MEANING OF ARTICLES 4 AND 5 .

THESE LAST PROVISIONS ARE CONCERNED WITH ACTIONS WHICH MUST BE EFFECTED AT A SPECIFIED DATE OR WITHIN A SPECIFIED TIME FOLLOWING A GIVEN DATE OR EVENT .

6 THE HYPOTHESIS CONTAINED IN ARTICLE 3 OF REGULATION NO 1196/71, WHEREBY AN ACTION MUST BE EFFECTED BEFORE A GIVEN DATE, IS NOT EXPRESSLY COVERED BY ANY OF THE PROVISIONS OF REGULATION NO 1182/71 .

HOWEVER, THE REASONS FOR EXCLUDING THE EXTENSION OF PERIODS IN THE EVENT OF A PERIOD CALCULATED FROM A GIVEN DATE, ARE EQUALLY VALID IN THE EVENT OF AN ACTION HAVING TO BE EFFECTED BEFORE A GIVEN DATE .

IN EITHER CASE, THE ELEMENT OF UNCERTAINTY WHICH JUSTIFIES THE EXTENSION OF PERIODS WHEN THESE EXPIRE ON A SATURDAY, A SUNDAY OR A PUBLIC HOLIDAY IS ABSENT .

ACCORDINGLY, THE MENTION OF A GIVEN DATE OF EXPIRY UPON WHICH AN EVENT MUST OCCUR OR AN ACTION MUST BE EFFECTED CORRESPONDS TO THE CONCEPT OF A TIME LIMIT COVERED BY ARTICLES 4 AND 5, AND CANNOT BE CONSIDERED AS A PERIOD WITHIN THE MEANING OF ARTICLE 3 .

7 MOREOVER, THIS INTERPRETATION IS CONFIRMED BY THE PURPOSE ATTRIBUTED TO THE FIXING OF A FINAL DATE, WHICH MUST BE ADHERED TO ON PAID OF EXCLUSION, WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF THE SYSTEM FOR GRANTING CARRY-OVER PAYMENTS FOR CEREALS HELD IN STOCK WHICH IS IMPLEMENTED IN REGULATION NO 1192/71 PURSUANT TO ARTICLE 9 OF REGULATION NO 120/67, ON THE COMMON ORGANIZATION OF THE MARKET IN CEREALS .

8 THE FIRST QUESTION HAVING BEEN ANSWERED IN THE NEGATIVE, THE SECOND QUESTION DOES NOT REQUIRE TO BE CONSIDERED .

9 THE THIRD QUESTION ASKS WHETHER THE EXPRESSION " DESPATCHED ON 7 AUGUST 1971 AT THE LATEST " IS A DATE WITHIN THE MEANING OF ARTICLE 5 OF REGULATION NO 1182/71 .

10 ARTICLE 5 ( 1 ) AND ( 2 ), FIRST PARAGRAPH, COVERS ACTIONS WHICH MUST BE EFFECTED AT A GIVEN MOMENT OR AT A GIVEN DATE .

THIS IS NOT THE MEANING OF ARTICLE 3 OF REGULATION NO 1196/71 .

AS STATED ABOVE, THIS PROVISION IS A LEGAL CONSTRUCTION WHICH, ALTHOUGH NOT EXPRESSLY COVERED BY REGULATION NO 1182/71, CORRESPONDS TO THE CONCEPT OF A TIME LIMIT WITHIN THE MEANING OF THAT REGULATION .

Decision on costs


11 THE COSTS INCURRED BY THE COMMISSION OF THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES, WHICH HAS SUBMITTED OBSERVATIONS TO THE COURT, ARE NOT RECOVERABLE AND AS THESE PROCEEDINGS ARE, INSOFAR AS THE PARTIES TO THE MAIN ACTION ARE CONCERNED, A STEP IN THE ACTION PENDING BEFORE A NATIONAL COURT, THE DECISION ON COSTS IS A MATTER FOR THAT COURT .

Operative part


THE COURT,

IN ANSWER TO THE QUESTIONS REFERRED TO IT BY THE HESSISCHER VERWALTUNGSGERICHTSHOF, HEREBY RULES :

ARTICLE 3 - LAST INDENTATION - OF REGULATION NO 1196/71 DOES NOT FIX EITHER A PERIOD OR A DATE WITHIN THE MEANING OF REGULATION NO 1182/71 .

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