Von Colson and Kamann v Land Nordrhein-Westfalen

European Law


Von Colson and Kamann v Land Nordrhein-Westfalen
Image: ‘The Prisoner’ by Jean Leon Gerome

To read about this case in greater depth, and with the benefit of full OSCOLA referencing, simply purchase a copy of ‘The Case Law Compendium: English & European Law’ from leading booksellers around the world.

Where can I buy it?

The book is available now through most Amazon sites thanks to the brilliance of Print on Demand (POD) technology and it is also printed through Ingram Spark (aka Lightning Source), who, through their worldwide  partnership agreements, supply ‘The Case Law Compendium’ to almost 40,000 retailers, libraries, schools and universities while providing worldwide shipping as standard.


Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble

Australia & New Zealand



 Amazon,   BlackwellWaterstones


AmazonChapters Indigo











Latin America

Amazon Brazil

Amazon Mexico



I cannot emphasise enough just how invaluable this book will become to you as your law course progresses, and you’ll be surprised at just how fast you learn the cases and how your confidence grows when discussing their finer points. I am supremely confident that you will also find yourself returning to the book when studying both for insight and refreshment of knowledge, and I quietly hope you will be equally excited whenever you turn to this unprecedented resource.

Please remember that it was you the worldwide readers, that inspired this book, so you owe it to yourselves to buy it (and use the hell out of it) and to tell your peers and friends everywhere, so that they too can work towards becoming an ‘A‘ student in English law.

– Remember that with ‘The Case Law Compendium’ you can do it.

Electronic Signatures Neil

Faccini Dori v Recreb Srl

European Law

Faccini v Recreb Srl
Image: ‘Snake Oil Salesman’ by Morgan Weistling

Note: To read about this case in greater depth, and with the benefit of full OSCOLA referencing, simply purchase a copy of ‘The Case Law Compendium: English & European Law’ at Amazon, Waterstones or Barnes & Noble (or go here for a full list of international outlets)

Private contracts between individuals are often overlooked in terms of actual rights, so when an Italian consumer entered into an agreement to purchase an English language course while visiting a railway terminal, the vendor looked to enforce the contract when notified that her order was to be cancelled.

Relying upon Doorstep Selling Directive (85/577/EEC) the applicant issued proceedings against the vendor and contended to the Giudice Concilliatore (Judge-Concillaitor) that arts.1(1), 2 and 5 conferred protective measures that allowed for rescindable notice within a period of seven days between consumers and private companies; which on this occasion was undertaken through written instruction to the contracting parties.

While the Directive had been in force for a number of years, the Italian government had failed to transpose it within the time allowed, therefore no domestic legislation existed concerning the facts of the case. As was common knowledge to Member States, a failure to adopt Directives in the prescribed period results in a loss of profit to the Member State when defending against direct effect claims by their citizens. In this instance however, the terms of the Directive, while both clear and precise, were related to dealings between individuals and so not subject to the benefit of protection, unless transposed under the guidance of Community law and within the adoption window.

This presented the national court with a dilemma, inasmuch as they were unable to determine exactly what rights the claimant had when seeking cancellation of the contract, and if consideration was ultimately due to the vendor as per the terms of their agreement. For this reason the court sought a preliminary ruling under art.177 and requested that the European Court of Justice clarify (i) if the terms of the Directive were clear and precise enough to provide direct effect and (ii) whether despite a failure to adopt the measures in accordance with the Treaty, the claimant could rely upon them to enforce her individual right to cancel.

Having examined the arguments around horizontal effect between parties and the power of Directives, it was agreed that for reasons of legal certainty, future consideration must be given to broaden the scope of those entitlements when applying them to private and not public matters. That aside, it was still held that although the terms of the Directive were that of horizontal dealings, it was not possible for the claimant to rely upon them when seeking to terminate her agreement with the vendor. However, because the Italian government had failed to adopt the Directive, and in light of the fact that there existed no domestic legislation to settle the matter, it was now possible for the national courts to transpose the effects of the Doorstep Selling Directive in order that a remedy could be provided in favour of the consumer.