Sandra Bitter v. Bundesrepublik Deutschland (European Court of Justice, 2015)
Jurisdiction: European Union
Principle law(s): EU Emission Trading Scheme (EU ETS) (Directive 2003/87/EC establishing a scheme for greenhouse gas emission allowance trading within the Community and amending Council Directive 96/61/EC)
Side A: Sandra Bitter (Individual corporation)
Side B: Bundesrepublik Deutschland (Government)
The Court held that the EU legislature must be allowed broad discretion in applying penalties and that the relatively high level of the penalty is justified by the need to have infringements of the obligation to surrender a sufficient number of allowances treated in a stringent and consistent manner throughout the European Union. The Court also noted that Directive 2003/87 grants operators a reasonable amount of time to comply with their surrender obligations and that the fact that the amount of the fine involved exceeded that of one in a previous case, in which the Court ruled that fines for penalties to surrender are consistent with the principle of proportionality, was irrelevant. In light of the principle of proportionality, the Court ruled, there is nothing in this case that affects the second sentence of Article 16(3) of Directive 2003/87, which does provide for a penalty of EUR 100 per tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent emitted for which the operator has not surrendered allowances.
Related laws and policies
EU Emission Trading Scheme (EU ETS) (Directive 2003/87/EC establishing a scheme for greenhouse gas emission allowance trading within the Community and amending Council Directive 96/61/EC)
This Directive establishes a Community GHG emissions trading scheme from 2005, to enable the Community and the Member States to meet their Kyoto Protocol commitments. Directive 2004/101/EC reinforces the link between the EU's emission allowance trading scheme and the Kyoto Protocol by making the ...