Francovich v Italy

Francovich v Italy (1991) C-6/90 was a decision of the European Court of Justice which established that European Union member states could be liable to pay compensation to individuals who suffered a loss by reason of the member state's failure to transpose an EU directive into national law. This principle is sometimes known as the principle of state liability or "the rule in Francovich" in European Union law.[1]

Francovich v Italy
Submitted 8 January 1990
Decided 19 November 1991
Full case nameAndrea Francovich and Danila Bonifaci and others v Italian Republic.
Case numberC-6/90
Case TypeReference for a preliminary ruling
ChamberFull court
Nationality of partiesItaly
Procedural historyPretura di Bassano del Grappa, Sezione lavoro, ordinanza del 30 December 1989, Pretura di Bassano del Grappa, Sezione lavoro, sentenza del 9 July 1992 3 August 1992 (273/92), Pretura circondariale di Bassano del Grappa, sentenza del 9 December 1993 (162/93), Pretura circondariale di Bassano del Grappa, ordinanza del 21 March 1995 (839 RG 162/93), Pretura di Vicenza, Sezione lavoro, ordinanza del 9 July 1989 10 July 1989 (1186/89), Pretura circondariale di Vicenza, Sezione lavoro, ordinanza del 16 December 1993 (206/93 (1186/89))
1. The provisions of Council Directive 80/987/EEC of 20 October 1980 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to the protection of employees in the event of the insolvency of their employer which determine the rights of employees must be interpreted as meaning that the persons concerned cannot enforce those rights against the State before the national courts where no implementing measures are adopted within the prescribed period;

2. A Member State is required to make good loss and damage caused to individuals by failure to transpose Directive 80/987/EEC.
Court composition
Gil Carlos Rodríguez Iglesias
Advocate General
Jean Mischo


Under the Insolvency Protection Directive 80/987 (now 2008/94/EC) EU member states were expected to enact provisions in their national law to provide for a minimum level of insurance for employees who had wages unpaid if their employers went insolvent. Mr Francovich, who had worked in Vicenza for CDN Elettronica SnC, was owed 6 million Lira, and Mrs Bonifaci and 33 of her colleagues were owed 253 million Lira together after their company, Gaia Confezioni Srl, had gone bankrupt. The Directive was meant to be implemented by 1983, but five years later they had been paid nothing, as the company liquidators had informed them that no money was left. They brought a claim against the Italian state, arguing that it must pay damages to compensate for their losses instead, on account of a failure to implement the Directive.


The European Court of Justice held that the Italian government had breached its obligations, and was liable to compensate the workers' loss resulting from the breach. The Court further held that the damages for such breaches should be available before national courts, and that to establish state liability on the basis of the failure to implement a directive, claimants must prove that the directive conferred specific rights on them, identifiable in its wording, and that there is a causal link between the state's failure to implement the directive and the loss suffered.[2]

See also


  1. UK Legislation, European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, Schedule 1 accessed 8 July 2018
  2. Francovich and Bonifaci v Republic of Italy (C-6, 9/90) [1991] I-5357, para. 40
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