Cold War, an Obstinate Professor, and a Monarchist Plot: the Untold Story of Costa v ENEL

Event date
27 February 2020
Event time
12:30 - 14:00
Oxford week
Clifford Chance Seminar Room
Dr Amedeo Arena

Costa v ENEL is the locus classicus for virtually every academic treatment on EU primacy, yet some aspects of that lawsuit still lie in obscurity.

What drove Flaminio Costa to sue his electricity provider over a bill of as little as £1,925 (about €22)? Why did the small-claims court of Milan decide to involve both the Italian Constitutional Court and the European Court of Justice in such a ‘petty’ lawsuit? Why did those two courts hand down rulings going in opposite directions? How did the lawsuit end when it came back to the Milan small-claims court?

Relying upon previously undisclosed court documents and interviews with some of the actors involved, this talk seeks to shed some light on the “untold story” of Costa v. ENEL, against the background of electricity nationalization in Italy at the height of the Cold War, and on the “prime architect” of that lawsuit, Gian Galeazzo Stendardi.

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A sandwich lunch will be available from 12.30. The meeting will begin at 1pm.

Found within

EU Law