Official Journal of the European Union

C 128/18

Action brought on 12 February 2008 — Commission of the European Communities v French Republic

(Case C-50/08)

(2008/C 128/31)

Language of the case: French


Applicant: Commission of the European Communities (represented by: J.-P. Keppenne and M H. Støvlbæk, Agents)

Defendant: French Republic

Form of order sought

The applicant claims that the Court should:

declare that, by laying down a nationality requirement for access to the profession of notary, the French Republic has failed to fulfil its obligations under the EC Treaty, in particular Articles 43 EC and 45 EC;

order the French Republic to pay the costs.

Pleas in law and main arguments

By its action, the Commission alleges that the defendant, by laying down a nationality requirement for access to the profession of notary and its practice, disproportionately restricts the freedom of establishment laid down in Article 43 EC. Admittedly, Article 45 EC exempts from the application of the chapter relating to the right of establishment activities connected directly and specifically with the exercise of public authority. According to the Commission, the tasks entrusted to notaries under French law are so distantly connected to the exercise of public authority that they do not fall within the scope of that article or warrant such a restriction of the freedom of establishment.

First, those tasks do not in fact confer on notaries a genuine power of coercion and the respective rights and duties of a judge and notary are completely separate.

Secondly, less restrictive measures than a nationality requirement could be laid down by the national legislature, such as subjecting the operators concerned to strict conditions for access to the profession, specific professional duties and/or a specific test.