The General Court of the EU has rejected an application brought by John Bredenkamp, and 3 companies owned by him, for damages arising from their listing on the EU’s sanctions against Zimbabwe. A link to the judgment is here; Case T-66/14 Bredenkamp & Ors v Council .
EU institutions are liable to pay damages for unlawful conduct where it has breached EU law in a sufficiently serious way, where actual damage was suffered, and there must have been a causal link between the conduct and the damage suffered. The court found that Mr Bredenkamp’s inclusion on the EU’s Zimbabwe targeted sanctions list was not unlawful, therefore the applicants were not entitled to damages and were ordered to pay costs. The Court found that the evidence justified Mr Bredenkamp’s listing on the basis that he is a businessman with strong ties to the Government, who had provided financial and other support to the Mugabe regime through his companies. And that this was a sufficiently clear statement of reasons, with a valid legal basis. Although the Council had not sent them the evidence forming the basis for their designation, the applicants had been given the bulk of the evidence justifying their listings, so this would not (according to the Court) have made any difference to the applicants’ rights of defence.