Case C-40/05, Lyyski

Another case involving a Swedish Board of Appeals (see my previous post of the day before yesterday, below) is today’s Lyyski-case, which concerned three preliminary questions from the Swedish Board of Appeals for Higher Education or Överklagandenämnden för Högskolan.

The Board essentially wished to ascertain whether it was compatible with Community law, in particular Article 12 EC, for participation in a special teacher training programme intended in the short term to meet the need for teachers in Sweden, to be made subject to the condition that applicants must be employed in a Swedish school.

The case concerned Mr Lyyski, a Swedish national, who applied to follow a course at Umeå universitet (shown on right), as part of this special teacher training.

Umeå universitet, however, rejected this application on the ground that he was not employed in a Swedish school, after which Mr Lyyski appealed to the referring court.

The European Court of Justice reiterated that Article 12 EC applied independently only to situations governed by Community law for which the Treaty laid down no specific rules of non-discrimination (see cases cited below).

As far as the freedom of movement for workers was concerned, that principle was implemented and given specific effect by Article 39(2) EC.

There was therefore no need to express a view on Article 12 EC

The Court furthermore held that it followed from Articles 149 EC and 150 EC that organisation of both an education system and a system of vocational training was a matter for the Member States.

Such responsibility implied, inter alia, the preservation or improvement of the education system, which must consequently constitute legitimate aims in the light of the provisions of the Treaty.

The Court of Justice held that Community law did not preclude national legislation which organised, on a provisional basis, this kind of special training courses.

This was provided, however, that the manner in which that legislation was applied did not lead to the exclusion, as a matter of principle, of all applications made by teachers who were not employed in such a school without prior individual assessment of the merits of those applications in the light, inter alia, of the aptitude of the person concerned, and the possibility of monitoring the practical part of the training received or possibly of exempting that person from it.

The Court argued that an exclusion on the sole ground that it was made by a person who was not employed in a Swedish school might in fact prove to be contrary to the objectives pursued and disproportionate, particularly if, when all equivalent applications from teachers employed in Swedish schools had been able to be fulfilled, the obstacles to completion of the practical part of the training course could be removed without difficulty.

The Court held that in such circumstances, it could not be excluded that the manner in which the STT Regulation was applied went beyond what was necessary to attain the objective of preserving and improving the Swedish education system.

Text of Judgement

Related case law:
Case C‑100/01 Oteiza Olazabal [2002] ECR I‑10981,

Case C‑289/02 AMOK [2003] ECR I‑15059

Case C‑387/01 Weigel [2004] ECR I‑4981