Remedying European legal pluralism The FIAMM and Fedon litigation and the judicial protection of international trade bystanders

In FIAMM and Fedon the European Court of Justice has ruled that Community undertakings hit by US trade sanctions authorised by the WTO Dispute Settlement Body are not entitled to compensation damages from EC political institutions. The article discusses the cases in the background of current debates on the attitude of the Court of Justice towards international law and, more broadly, on European legal pluralism. From this standpoint, it provides a critical assessment of the legal issues involved in this litigation – internal status of WTO obligations, scope for manoeuvre of EC political institutions in international trade relations, liability for unlawful and lawful conduct – and offers a comparative analysis of the possible solutions to the case suggesting that a finding of liability for lawful conduct would have been a preferable outcome in both theoretical and substantive terms.