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Nordsee case

Nordsee Deutsche Hochseefischerei GmbH v Reederei Hochseefischerei Nordstern AG & Co KG
Court European Court of Justice
Citation(s) (1982) C-102/81, [1982] ECR 1095
Preliminary References (Article 267 TFEU)

Nordsee Deutsche Hochseefischerei GmbH v Reederei Mond Hochseefischerei Nordstern AG & Co KG is a case referred to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) by a German arbitrator by virtue of Article 267 TFEU(ex Article 234 of the TEC). This article gives 'Courts or Tribunals' of Member States the power to refer to the ECJ matters involving the interpretation or application of European Union law. It was held in this case that the ECJ could not rule on questions referred to it by an arbitrator because an arbitral body is not a court or tribunal of a Member State as defined in Article 234.

Legal principle

The decision in this case contributed to the definition of a court or tribunal as per Article 267. As the case involved a national body responsible for offering alternatives to dispute resolutions by courts, it was argued that it could be considered as a court or tribunal. The judges stated in the judgement that the body could not refer a case to the ECJ:
(1) If the alternative procedure is, in fact and law, chosen in preference to recourse to ordinary courts and
(2) If the public authorities of a Member State are not involved in the choice of recouse to the alternative method of dispute resolution, and do not intervene in the course of its procedure.

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