Reinforcing the Public Law Taboo: A Note on Hellenic Republic v Nikiforidis

European Law Review, 2018, 43(4), 569-582

HEC Paris Research Paper No. LAW-2018-1302

15 Pages Posted: 18 Sep 2018

Date Written: September 18, 2018


This article hinges on the preliminary ruling rendered by the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) (Grand Chamber) on 18 October 2016 and the related judgment of the German Federal Labour Court of 26 April 2017 in the Nikiforidis case to investigate an area of private international law that is undergoing a substantial development: overriding mandatory provisions. In Nikiforidis, the CJEU excluded that two Greek laws cutting the salary of public employees may be enforced against a teacher working in Germany for the Greek Government under an employment contract governed by German law. The question addressed to the CJEU was whether the said laws were “overriding mandatory provisions” according to the Rome I Regulation. The Court denied it, and left to the referring court to determine whether they could nevertheless operate “as matter of fact” under the governing law. This article explains how the CJEU’s conclusion has broader implications by regulating third countries’ interference in international business transactions. Starting with an analysis of the case, the article examines the history and nature of overriding mandatory provisions under EU private international law and argues that the solution embraced by the CJEU leaves room for uncertainty and unpredictability in the operation of foreign mandatory provisions.

This material was firstly published by Thomson Reuters Limited in Edoardo Avato & Matteo Winkler, Reinforcing the Public Law Taboo: A Note on Hellenic Republic v Nikiforidis, 43 European Law Review (2018), 569-582, and is reproduced by agreement with the publisher

Keywords: Amendments; Applicable law; Contracts of employment; EU law; Germany; Greece; Remuneration

Suggested Citation

Avato, Edoardo and Winkler, Matteo, Reinforcing the Public Law Taboo: A Note on Hellenic Republic v Nikiforidis (September 18, 2018). European Law Review, 2018, 43(4), 569-582, HEC Paris Research Paper No. LAW-2018-1302, Available at SSRN:

Edoardo Avato

Pedersoli Studio Legale ( email )

Matteo Winkler (Contact Author)

HEC Paris ( email )

1 rue de la Libération
Jouy-en-Josas Cedex, 78351


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