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Supreme Court of Denmark

No liability for unlawful rules and conditions governing pig transports 

Case no. 33/2009

Judgment delivered on 31 May 2013.

N. V. Randers A/S, Ole Dahl, JKM Transport ApS,
Henrik Westergaard/Midtvest Kreatur- og So Eksport ApS,
Morten Pedersen and
Ulslev Vognmandsforretning represented by Leif Hansen
The Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries of Denmark (formerly the Ministry of Justice) 

The Ministry was not liable following the introduction of rules and conditions governing pig transports in contravention of community law.

In 2005, the Danish Ministry of Justice had accepted that the Danish requirements governing internal floor height in vehicles transporting slaughter pigs and the condition that a maximum transport period of eight hours may grant an exemption from the requirements to allow for a lower floor height were in contravention of community law.  

The appellants in the case, who are all or have all been engaged in, e.g. the transport of pigs, then brought a claim for damages, as they believed that the unlawful Danish rules had restricted the number og pigs that they were allowed to transport and that they had therefore been discriminated against as compared to foreign transporters.

The Supreme Court stated that the Ministry's violation of community law was not sufficiently aggravated for the Ministry to incur liability, neither under community law nor under the general Danish law of damages. Nor had the Ministry incurred liability as a consequence of its failure to inform the European Commission of the Danish rules or its failure to change the Danish rules sooner than it did. 

The Supreme Court had therefore reached the same conclusion as the High Court.

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