In this case, the Grand Chamber of the Court of Justice of the European Union considered a reference under Article 267 TFEU from France’s Conseil d’État concerning the extent to which EU regulation of genetically modified organisms under Directive 2001/18 and Directive 2002/53 applies to organisms obtained by mutagenesis, a process which generates mutations.
Annex IB of Directive 2001/18 contains a conditional exemption for organisms obtained by mutagenesis. The applicants argued that new techniques which post-date the adoption of the Directive are not covered by this exemption, and in the alternative they argued that any exemption accorded to such techniques is in breach of the precautionary principle and unlawful. A further issue was whether the exemption also applies to Directive 2002/53, which cross-refers to Directive 2001/18 but does not repeat or contain similar provisions to Annex IB.
Oral submissions were made on 3 October 2017 on behalf of the Applicant, France, Greece, Austria, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the European Parliament, the European Council and the European Commission.
Charles Banner appeared as sole counsel for the United Kingdom, instructed by the Government Legal Department.
The Court’s judgment is available here.