ECJ gives primacy to national court rulings

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled that national court judgments that conflict with EU law should not be overturned when there is no appeal.

In a case referred to the ECJ by the Austrian courts, it said that the need to respect EU legislation could be overridden by the requirements of judicial efficiency.

The ECJ ruled: “To ensure the stability of the law and legal relations and the sound administration of justice it is important that [final] judicial decisions… can no longer be called into question.”

It added that, in such cases, all rights of appeal should have been exhausted and time limits for appeals expired.

“EU law does not require a national court to disapply its internal rules of procedure to review and reopen a final judicial decision if that decision [is] contrary to EU law,” stated the judgment.

The Innsbruck regional court asked for advice, fearing that a decision by a lower court, which had international jurisdiction over the case, broke EU procedural rules.