Language of document :

Action brought on 15 April 2019 – Pech v Council

(Case T-252/19)

Language of the case: English

Parties

Applicant: Laurent Pech (London, United Kingdom) (represented by: O. Brouwer and T. McGrath, lawyers)

Defendant: Council of the European Union

Form of order sought

The applicant claims that the Court should:

annul the Council decision contained in a letter to the applicant of 12 February 2019 refusing full access to document ST 13593 2018 INIT (legal opinion of Council legal service of 25 October 2018), pursuant to Articles 4(2) and 4(3) of Regulation 1049/2001, 1 ;

in subsidiary order, order the Council to grant wider partial access to document ST 13593 2018 INIT, pursuant to Article 4(6) of Regulation 1049/2001; and

order the Council to pay the applicant’s costs, including the costs of any intervening parties.

Pleas in law and main arguments

In support of the action, the applicant relies on three pleas in law.

First plea in law, alleging an error in law and misapplication of the second indent of Article 4(2) of Regulation 1049/2001.

It is argued that the Council failed to demonstrate that the requested document contained legal advice.

The applicant further argues that the Council misinterpreted and misapplied Article 4(2), second indent, of Regulation 1049/2001, by not taking into account the provisions of EU primary law summarised in the application as well as the principle that EU legislative documents are subject to the widest possible access, while also relying on vague and subjective notions not provided for in EU law to justify non-disclosure.

The Council committed an error in law and misapplied the overriding public interest test.

Second plea in law, alleging an error in law and misapplication of Article 4(3), first paragraph, of Regulation 1049/2001.

The applicant argues that the Council failed to show that full disclosure would specifically and effectively undermine the decision-making process in question.

The Council misinterpreted and misapplied Article 4(3), first paragraph, of Regulation 1049/2001 and the case-law of the EU Courts, by ignoring the provisions of EU primary law summarised in the application and the principle that EU legislative documents are subject to the widest possible access.

The Council failed to properly assess the public interest in disclosure.

Third plea in law, a subsidiary plea, alleging that, should the exceptions relied upon be applicable to the requested document, the Council breached Article 4(6) of Regulation 1049/2001, in that it evidently failed to fulfil its obligation to grant the (proper and required) partial access it should have granted to the requested document under the said Article 4(6), by withholding access to the entire section on the legal analysis.

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1 Regulation (EC) 1049/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents (OJ 2001 L 145, p.43).