Source: All England Reporter
Publisher Citation: [2002] All ER (D) 230 (Oct)
Court: Court of Justice of the European Communities (First Chamber)

Judges Wathelet (President), Jann (Rapporteur) and Rosas

Judgment Dates: 17 October 2002


Agriculture - Common agricultural policy - Wine - Application of concept of force majeure within agricultural regulations - Commission Regulation (EC) 1294/96, art 12.

The Case

The concept of force majeure for the purposes of agricultural regulations was not limited to absolute impossibility, but had to be understood in the sense of abnormal and unforeseeable circumstances, outside the control of the operator concerned, the consequences of which, in spite of the exercise of all due care, could not have been avoided. In the case of art12 of Commission Regulation(EC) 1294-96 (laying down detailed rules for the application of Council Regulation(EEC) 822-87 as regarded harvest, production and stock declarations relating to wine-sector products), it was for the operator to prove that the conditions necessary for a case of force majeure to exist had been satisfied, and it fell to the national court concerned to verify the facts alleged by operators to determine whether, having regard to the circumstances, they had taken every care that could have been expected of them to observe the time-limit for making the stock declaration required by art12 of the regulation.

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