C-11/70 Internationale Handelsgesellschaft [1970]

C-11/70 Internationale Handelsgesellschaft mbH v Einfuhr- und Vorratsstelle für Getreide und Futtermittel [1970] ECR 1125 is an EU law case that concerns German constitutional law in relation to the conflict of law between a national legal system and the laws of the European Union.

The case involved a challenge by Internationale Handelsgesellschaft mbH (IHB), a minority shareholder, against the Common Agricultural Policy's licensing system, which required a deposit for export licenses. IHB claimed a disproportionate violation of its right to conduct business under the German Constitution. The German Administrative Court sought clarification from the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

The ECJ held that the validity of EU measures cannot be challenged based on national law rules or concepts, even if it violates fundamental human rights provisions in a member state’s constitution. The court acknowledged that EC law respects fundamental rights but emphasised that there was no fundamental right violation in this case.

The judgment asserted that challenging the validity of EU measures based on national law would undermine the uniformity and efficacy of Community law. The examination should focus on whether any analogous guarantee inherent in Community law had been disregarded. The protection of fundamental rights, inspired by common constitutional traditions, must align with the Community's structure and objectives.

The German Constitutional Court, considering fundamental rights protection, expressed a provisional approach. It stated that, in a hypothetical conflict between Community law and guarantees of fundamental rights in the German Constitution, the latter prevails until the competent organs of the Community resolve the conflict according to the Treaty mechanism.

The German Constitutional Court recognised the Community's lack of a democratically legitimated Parliament and a codified catalogue of fundamental rights. Provisionally, in cases of conflict, the guarantee of fundamental rights in the Constitution prevails.

The case addresses the challenge of balancing European law supremacy within the German legal order against potential conflicts with fundamental rights protected by the German Constitution. It highlights the role of the ECJ in protecting fundamental rights in the European legal order, allowing the German Constitutional Court to adopt an accommodating approach to European law supremacy.

The case's significance lies in its contribution to the evolving understanding of the supremacy of European law within national legal orders, emphasising the importance of protecting fundamental rights in the EU legal framework. The subsequent Solange II judgment further shaped the approach of the German Constitutional Court, recognising developments in the protection of fundamental rights by the ECJ and other EU institutions.
Back to blog

UOL Case Bank

Upon joining, you become a valuable UOL student and gain instant access to over 2,100 case summaries. UOL Case Bank is constantly expanding. Speed up your revision with us now.

Subscribe Now

Where are our students from?

Yale University
Council of Europe
Baker Mckenzie 
University of Chicago
Columbia University
New York University
University of Michigan 
University College London (UCL)
London School of Economics (LSE)
King’s College London (KCL)
University of London
University of Manchester
University of Zurich
University of York
Brandeis University
University of Exeter
University of Sheffield
Boston University
University of Washington
University of Leeds
University of Law
Royal Holloway, University of London 
Birkbeck, University of London
SOAS, University of London
University of Kent
University of Hull
Queen’s University Belfast
Toronto Metropolitan University
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
University of Buckingham

  • Criminal Practice

    Diagrams and Charts

    Our carefully designed diagrams and charts will guide you through complex legal issues.

  • Criminal Law

    Clear and Succinct Definitions

    Key concepts are concisely defined to help you understand legal topics quickly.

  • Property Law

    Statutory Provisions

    Statutory provisions are provided side by side with legal concepts to help you swiftly locate the relevant legislation.

  • Public Law

    Case Summaries

    We have summarised important cases for you so that you don't need to read long and boring cases.

  • Evidence

    Rules and Exceptions

    Rules and exceptions are clearly listed so that you know when a rule applies and when it doesn't.

  • Company Law


    Legal terms and key concepts are explained at the beginning of each chapter to help you learn efficiently.

  • Case Law

    Case law is provided side by side with legal concepts so that you know how legal principles and precedents were established.

  • Law Exam Guide

    Law Essay Guide

    You will learn essential law exam skills and essay writing techniques that are not taught in class.

  • Law Exam Guide

    Problem Question Guide

    We will show you how to answer problem questions step by step to achieve first-class results.

  • Conflict of Laws

    Structured Explanations

    Complex legal concepts are broken down into concise and digestible bullet point explanations.

  • Legal System and Method

    Legal Research

    You will learn legal research techniques with our study guide and become a proficient legal researcher.

  • Jurisprudence and Legal Theory


    All essential concepts, principles, and case law are included so that you can answer exam questions quickly.