For example, EU law provides that no Council decision can be binding and executory unless it was voted by two-thirds of the Council membership. This paper discusses the conflicts often engendered by acts of the Council that have not been introduced into the national laws of member states, as well as the integrity and applicability of its decisions. In so doing, the paper presents two case scenarios involving consumer welfare and fair trade promotion as embodied in acts of the Council that run into controversy.
The European Council, seeking to bolster consumer protection laws in member states, adopted a directive on May 1, 2005 granting consumers the right to cancel any mail-order purchase of goods or services if done within 15 days of placement. Within seven days upon receipt of such notice, the supplier shall make a full refund of the contract price to the consumer, minus a reasonable amount for administrative and handling costs. EU member states were enjoined to implement the directive by May 1, 2007, but UK dragged its feet on the measure and was yet to incorporate this Directive into its national laws until July 5, 2007. On this exact date, Brighton businesswoman Christina ordered a new computer system from Avalon Computers Ltd., a mail-order firm in Reading specializing in computer equipment for professional graphics design. After making the full payment of 3,000 pounds, the equipment was delivered to Christina's shop a few days later. A day after delivery, however, Christina lost her American clients who had specified new designs that required the new computer system. Without these clients, the equipment was hardly needed by Christina's design studio so she faxed Avalon for a return of the computer, which was still crated and untouched. Avalon denied the request, indicating that there is a UK law allowing the no-return policy on the purchase of goods.
If asked to prepare a brief on Christina's problem, how would you help her obtain a refund In the event a UK court declines to hear the case, where else could she go for redress Would the complexion of the case be different if the directive were a regulation instead
In 6/64 Costa v ENEL (1964) ECR 585, the ECJ observed that the "Treaty has created it own legal system, which becomes part of the legal system of each member state and which their courts are bound to apply." This fulfills the direct effect principle in EU law, which means that the Council directive applies to Avalon although is yet to be implemented in UK. The new EU Constitution says that the EC law, whether of general or specific application, must prevail over any national law and that even in cases of conflict, the national law must be adjusted to conform to the EC law (Craig & De Burca, 20003). The implications are that coverage of EC law does not distinguish between direct and indirect effects in regard to individual European citizens, such that they can avail of the EC law's provisions to complain against any violation. The same ruling was laid down in Marleasing SA v La Comercial Internacional: "In applying national