Case 66/85 Lawrie-Blum [1986] ECR 2121

Key point
  • A ‘worker’ under Article 45 TFEU is defined as a person who performs services for and under the direction of another person in return for which he receives remuneration for a certain period
  • The definition of ‘public service’ in Article 45(4) TFEU is based on EU law and not national law, as such, it can exclude professions that are part of the civil service of a Member State such as teachers
Facts
  • The claimant was a British national who passed the German state examination for the profession of teacher at a gymnasium but was refused admission as a trainee teacher
  • Under German law, teachers are part of the civil service, which is restricted to German nationals
  • The claimant argued that this was incompatible with the free movement of workers under Article 45 TFEU (ex Article 48 EEC Treaty)
  • The national court was of the opinion that trainee teachers were temporary civil servants and thus came within the exception of ‘public service’ under Article 45(4) TFEU
Held
  • Trainee teachers did not come within the exception of ‘public service’ under Article 45(4) TFEU
Judgment

On the meaning of ‘worker’ in Article 45(1)

  • The objective criteria for a worker ‘is that for a certain period of time a person performs services for and under the direction of another person in return for which he receives remuneration’: [17]
  • The following aspects of the role of trainee teacher were held not be bars to being regarded as a worker
    • ┬áthat it was preparatory in nature
    • that it was not of an economic nature, or governed by public law
    • that it was part time

On the meaning of ‘public service’ in Article 45(4)

  • A strict interpretation is to be given
    • As a derogation to the freedom of movement of workers, ‘Article [45] (4) must be construed in such a way as to limit its scope to what is strictly necessary for safeguarding the interests which that provision allows the member states to protect…access to certain posts may not be limited by reason of the fact that in a given member state persons appointed to such posts have the status of civil servants’
  • Under Article 45 (4) ’employment in the public service’ refers posts which:
    1. involve direct or indirect participation in the exercise of powers conferred by public law
    2. in the discharge of functions whose purpose is to safeguard the general interests of the state or of other public authorities and
    3. which therefore require a special relationship of allegiance to the state on the part of persons occupying them and reciprocity of rights and duties which form the foundation of the bond of nationality: [28]
  • Those very strict conditions are not fulfilled in the case of a trainee teacher: [29]
Commentary
  • The Court was highly assertive in claiming the sole jurisdiction to define the terms and scope of Article 45 TFEU, as otherwise national laws could set different definitions and impede the formation of a single labour market
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