Non-Contractual Liability of the European Communities edited by Henry G. Schermers , Ton Heukels, Philip Mead, Europa Instituut, University of Leiden, TMC Asser Instituut, 1988, v-xvi, 230 pp.
In 1987 a conference was held to celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of the Europa Instituut in Leiden. The main theme of the conference was the scope of liability imposed by Article 215 of the EEC Treaty, and the essays presented at the conference, together with some additional papers, have now been collected together in a book edited by members of the University of Leiden.
The book provides a valuable guide to the various topics which arise for consideration under Article 215, and it is helpful to have these topics considered in a form which is readily accessible. All major aspects of liability pursuant to this Article are considered. Grabitz deals with the difficult and important question of how far the Community is liable for damage caused by legislative acts which are tainted by some element of illegality. This is followed by a chapter in which Bronkhorst considers how far the Community has accepted the possibility of any liability for a valid legislative act which has caused loss to a particular section of the Community. Other important aspects of Article 215 liability are dealt with by Toth and Heukels. Toth provides a careful and clear analysis of the concepts of damage and causality, while Heukels furnishes an equally succinct and informative study of the issue of prescription under Article 215. The application of the Article to official acts of civil servants is considered by Schermers, and Edward examines the more general role which private law principles may play in the interpretative process when deciding upon the ambit of liability in damages. Mead discusses the continuing problem of the relationship between the action for annulment under Article 173 and damages liability under Article 215. arguing that the spectre of the holding in Case 25/62 Plaumann [ 1963] ECR 95 may yet return to haunt the applicant seeking compensation under Article 215. The complex problems presented by the joint liability of the Community and Member States are carefully dissected by Oliver who provides a valuable analysis of the distinctive issues which can arise for consideration as part of this topic. Barav tackles the equally problematic area concerning the scope of liability for damages in domestic courts pursuant to a breach of EEC law by public authorities within a Member State. This topic is bound to become of increasing importance as litigants seek to found a monetary claim within their national legal systems upon a