Ajos (Dansk Industri) –A challenge to the primacy of EU law?

Martina Benackova – 3rd year LLB student at UCL

In the Ajos case[1], the Supreme Court of Denmark (SCDK) referred to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) two questions relating to the compatibility of paragraph 2a(3) of the Danish Salaried Employees Act with Directive 2000/78/EC, establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation[2].

Despite the clear instructions received from the ECJ, the SCDK refused to set aside the conflicting provision of national law, giving precedence to national law over EU law instead.[3]

This paper shortly summarises the facts of the case and the reasoning of the SCDK, discussing them in the framework of the Treaty principles of supremacy of EU law and loyal cooperation. It then maintains that the decision of the SCDK in Ajos is an illustration of judicial disobedience of a national Court vis-à-vis the ECJ, which threatens the doctrine of the primacy of EU law as established by the European Court in the landmark decision Costa v ENEL[4].

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