Source: All England Reporter
Publisher Citation: [2002] All ER (D) 210 (Nov)
Court: Court of Justice of the European Communities (Fifth Chamber)

Judges Wathelet (President), Timmermans, La Pergola, Jann (Rapporteur) and von Bahr

Judgment Dates: 14 November 2002


European Communities - Customs duty - Exemptions to payment of customs debt - Error by competent authorities - Existence of error - Council Regulation (EEC) 1697/79, art 5(2).

The Case

Article5(2) of Council Regulation(EEC) 1697-79 (on the post-clearance recovery of import duties or export duties which have not been required of the person liable for payment on goods entered for a customs procedure involving the obligation to pay such duties). That provision made waiver of post-clearance recovery by the national authorities subject to three cumulative conditions which, if fulfilled, entitled the person liable to waiver of post-clearance recovery. Those conditions were that non-collection of the duties had to have been due to an error made by the competent authorities themselves; that the error made had have been such that the person competent, acting in good faith, could not have reasonably have been able to detect it in spite of the professional experience and exercise of due care required of him; and finally, that he had to have complied with all the provisions laid down by the legislation in force so far as his customs declaration was concerned. In order to determine whether there was an 'error made by the competent authorities themselves', account had to be taken both of the conduct of the customs authorities which issued the certificate permitting the application of preferential treatment, and of the central customs authorities. In the instant case, there was evidence of an error made by the competent authorities, and evidence that such an error could not have reasonably been detected by the person liable

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