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Document 61985CJ0121

Summary of the Judgment

Judgment of the Court (Fourth Chamber) of 11 March 1986.
Conegate Limited v HM Customs & Excise.
Reference for a preliminary ruling: High Court of Justice, Queen's Bench Division - United Kingdom.
Restrictions on imports - Grounds of public morality.
Case 121/85.

Keywords
Summary

Keywords

1 . FREE MOVEMENT OF GOODS - DEROGATIONS - GROUNDS OF PUBLIC MORALITY - PROHIBITION ON THE IMPORTATION OF GOODS CONSIDERED TO BE INDECENT OR OBSCENE - PERMISSIBILITY - CONDITION - PROHIBITION ON THE MANUFACTURE AND MARKETING OF THE SAME GOODS ON THE NATIONAL TERRITORY - DIFFERENCES IN THE LAWS IN FORCE IN THE TERRITORY OF THE SAME MEMBER STATE - OVERALL ASSESSMENT

( EEC TREATY , ART . 36 )

2 . INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENTS - AGREEMENTS OF THE MEMBER STATES - AGREEMENTS CONCLUDED PRIOR TO THE EEC TREATY - ARTICLE 234 OF THE TREATY - OBJECT - SCOPE - JUSTIFICATION OF RESTRICTIONS IN INTRA-COMMUNITY TRADE - NOT ACCEPTABLE

( EEC TREATY , ART . 234 )

Summary

1 . A MEMBER STATE MAY NOT RELY ON GROUNDS OF PUBLIC MORALITY WITHIN THE MEANING OF ARTICLE 36 OF THE EEC TREATY IN ORDER TO PROHIBIT THE IMPORTATION OF CERTAIN GOODS ON THE GROUND THAT THEY ARE INDECENT OR OBSCENE WHEN ITS LEGISLATION CONTAINS NO PROHIBITION ON THE MANUFACTURE AND MARKETING OF THE SAME GOODS ON ITS TERRITORY .

THE QUESTION WHETHER SUCH A PROHIBITION EXISTS IN A STATE COMPRISED OF DIFFERENT CONSTITUENT PARTS WHICH HAVE THEIR OWN INTERNAL LEGISLATION CAN BE RESOLVED ONLY BY TAKING INTO CONSIDERATION ALL THE RELEVANT LEGISLATION . ALTHOUGH IT IS NOT NECESSARY , FOR THE PURPOSES OF THE APPLICATION OF ARTICLE 36 , THAT THE MANUFACTURE AND MARKETING OF THE PRODUCTS WHOSE IMPORTATION HAS BEEN PROHIBITED SHOULD BE PROHIBITED IN THE TERRITORY OF ALL THE CONSTITUENT PARTS , IT MUST AT LEAST BE POSSIBLE TO CONCLUDE FROM THE APPLICABLE RULES , TAKEN AS A WHOLE , THAT THEIR PURPOSE IS , IN SUBSTANCE , TO PROHIBIT THE MANUFACTURE AND MARKETING OF THOSE PRODUCTS .

THAT IS NOT THE CASE OF RULES UNDER WHICH SUCH GOODS MAY BE MANUFACTURED FREELY AND MARKETED SUBJECT ONLY TO AN ABSOLUTE PROHIBITION ON THE TRANSMISSION OF SUCH GOODS BY POST , A RESTRICTION ON THEIR PUBLIC DISPLAY AND , IN CERTAIN AREAS , A SYSTEM OF LICENSING OF PREMISES FOR THE SALE OF THOSE GOODS TO CUSTOMERS AGED 18 YEARS AND OVER .

2 . ARTICLE 234 OF THE EEC TREATY MUST BE INTERPRETED AS MEANING THAT AN AGREEMENT CONCLUDED PRIOR TO THE ENTRY INTO FORCE OF THE EEC TREATY MAY NOT BE RELIED UPON IN ORDER TO JUSTIFY RESTRICTIONS ON TRADE BETWEEN MEMBER STATES . THAT PROVISION , WHICH IS INTENDED TO ENSURE THAT THE APPLICATION OF THE TREATY DOES NOT AFFECT EITHER THE DUTY TO OBSERVE THE RIGHTS OF NON-MEMBER COUNTRIES UNDER AN AGREEMENT PREVIOUSLY CONCLUDED WITH A MEMBER STATE , OR THE OBSERVANCE BY THAT MEMBER STATE OF ITS OBLIGATIONS UNDER THAT AGREEMENT , CONCERNS ONLY THE RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS ESTABLISHED BETWEEN THE MEMBER STATES AND NON-MEMBER COUNTRIES .

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