In C-453/00 Kühne & Heitz NV the Court of Justice held that an administrative body concerned is, in accordance with the principle of cooperation arising from Article 10 EC, under an obligation to review a decision it has taken in order to consider the interpretation of a relevant provision of Community law given in the meantime by the Court. Such an obligation was made subject to the following four conditions :
In Case C-234/04 Kapferer the issue arose in respect of court proceedings. The referring court asked the Court of Justice if the principle of cooperation enshrined in Article 10 EC should be interpreted to mean that, in the circumstances stated in the judgment of the Court of Justice in Case C-453/00 Kühne & Heitz, a national court is also obliged to review and reopen a final judicial decision if the latter should infringe EU law?
No, answered the Court of Justice.
The Court recalled that it is important that judicial decisions which have become definitive after all rights of appeal have been exhausted or after expiry of the time-limits provided for in that connection can no longer be called into question (Case C-224/01 Köbler). Consequently, EU law does not require a national court to disapply domestic rules of procedure conferring finality on a decision, even if to do so would enable it to remedy an infringement of Community law by the decision at issue (see, to that effect, Case C-126/97 Eco Swiss). As for Kühne & Heitz NV, the Court states that that judgment makes the obligation of the administrative body concerned to review a final decision, which would appear to have been adopted in breach of EU law subject, in accordance with Article 10 EC, to the condition, inter alia, that that body should be empowered under national law to reopen that decision. In Kapferer on the other hand, it is apparent from the reference for a preliminary ruling that that condition has not been satisfied.