On 12 July the Court of First Instance in Luxembourg awarded over 100 individuals, largely from Britain, substantial damages against the European Commission. It ordered the Commission to pay almost £30m in relation to two linked sets of claims.
The individual claimants all worked at the EU’s nuclear fusion project (JET) based at Culham in Oxfordshire but they were not given the status of European employees. Therefore they were denied the pay, pension rights and other benefits of the EU employees who worked alongside them carrying out the same functions on one of the largest scientific projects in Europe. After a 7 year legal battle, involving three hearings in Luxembourg, the Court of First Instance first found that the Commission had committed “serious misconduct” by practising “long-term discrimination” against the claimants, and then fixed the amount of damages that each claimant can recover.
Two group actions were brought on behalf of over 100 contractors. One group was represented by Peter Roth QC, Ian Hutton and Ben Lask, the other by Daniel Beard, all of Monckton Chambers.