Caught in the (Red)act: Insights from the Van Duyn Dossier

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Table of Contents: I. Introduction. – II. Case overview. – III. Insights from the dossier. – III.1. Documents in the dossier. – III.2. References to political and domestic policies. – III.3. Influential actors in Van Duyn. – III.4. Methodological issues with redaction. – IV. Conclusion.

Abstract: Van Duyn v Home Office (case 41/74) was the UK’s first preliminary reference procedure case and is best known for its role in developing the meaning of direct effect, free movement of workers and public policy under EU law. The Court of Justice in the Archives project sought to find the “added value” of analysing the dossier de procédure alongside already publicly available documents relating to landmark EU cases. In the case of Van Duyn, the dossier did provide some additional insight into the case, such as the inclusion of the UK’s High Court decision and references to the UK’s domestic political context and policy making. However, the dossier largely reflected already publicly available documents relating to the case, demonstrating the transparency of the Court’s decision-making process. This being said, 11 per cent of the dossier was redacted, potentially undermining this Article’s aforementioned conclusion. Here, finding the balance between protecting the privacy of individuals and the secrecy of the Court with ensuring public transparency and subsequent academic investigation was particularly apparent. Nonetheless, being granted access to redacted documents would be beneficial to achieve the full potential of the dossier when using the archives of the Court of Justice for research.

Keywords: direct effect – free movement of workers – non-discrimination – public policy – art. 48 EEC – art. 3 Directive 64/2.

European Papers, Vol. 6, 2021, No 1, pp. 589-598
2499-8249 - doi: 10.15166/2499-8249/487

* PhD Researcher in European Law, European University Institute,
** PhD Researcher in European Law, European University Institute,


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