Judgement concerning payment of the fee to the financing of the postal sector ombudsman service by Express Line.
Information on the judgement concerning reference for a preliminary ruling submitted to the Court of Justice of the European Union by a Court of Appeal in Brussels in case C-148/10 Express Line (scope of application of Article 19 of Directive 97/67/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 December 1997 on common rules for the development of the internal market of Community postal services and the improvement of quality of service (further referred to as the Postal Directive)).
On 13 October 2011, the Court of Justice of the European Union (further referred to as the Court) announced its judgement concerning reference for a preliminary ruling submitted to the Court by a Court of Appeal in Brussels with respect to proceedings between Express Line NV (currently: "DHL International NV") and the Belgisch Instituut voor Postdiensten en Telecommunicatie (further referred to as ‘the BIPT') concerning payment of the fee to the financing of the postal sector ombudsman service.
Due to the on-going proceedings the Court of Appeal in Brussels referred two questions to the Court of Justice for a preliminary ruling.
The first question was to specify if the provisions of the Postal Directive, and in particular Article 19 thereof, must be understood and interpreted as precluding Member States from imposing a mandatory external complaints scheme on providers of non-universal postal services.
The second question was to establish, given a positive answer to the first question, if the Member States' capacity to impose a mandatory external complaints system is not a restriction of the principles relating to the free movement of services in the light of Article 49 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (further referred to as the TFEU), even if in the application of the complaints scheme concerned, no distinction is made between the complaints of consumers and those of other end-users.
The Republic of Poland joined the proceedings on the initiative of the Office of Electronic Communications at the stage of written proceedings and presented its written comments in which it pointed out that the provisions of the Postal Directive allow the Member States to impose a mandatory external complaints system on providers of non-universal services and that Article 49 of the TFEU should be interpreted as not precluding national legislation which imposes on providers of postal services outside the scope of the universal service a mandatory external procedure for dealing with complaints from users of those services.
The Court has ruled in its judgement that imposing a mandatory external complaints system on providers of postal services which are outside the scope of universal service is neither contradictory with the Postal Directive nor with Article 49 of the TFEU.
The judgement will have significance for the provisions of the new Postal law currently under the legislative process.