Grilc Vouk Škof
Anniversary 40 Jahre GVS3

Lawyers

committed

to Central and Eastern Europe

ECJ: penalties against foreign companies in Austria

In its ruling dated September 12th, 2019, the European Court of Justice found in the joined cases C 64/18, C 140/18, C 146/18 and C 148/18,  that essential provisions of the Austrian Law on Wage and Social Dumping are incompatible with the law of the European Union. The ECJ ruled, that Article 56 of the Contract on the functioning of the European Union must be interpreted as precluding the national regulations which provide for the imposition of fines, which may not be less than an amount determined in advance, in respect of formal offences relating to the obligation to keep wage records available and to compliance with administrative permits,  which are imposed cumulatively and without limitation on each worker concerned, which provide for additional procedural costs in the amount of 20% of the fine imposed in the event of the rejection of appeals against first instance penal orders, and which may be converted into custodial sentences in the event of the uncollectibility of the fines imposed.

The dispute arose from the imposition of penalties amounting to millions of euros on the executive bodies of an Austrian company and on the responsible officers of the contracting Croatian company in connection with repair work at a pulp mill in Austria. The exorbitantly high fines were imposed only because for the 217 Croatian employees not all wage documents were kept available and the employment permits had not been obtained on account of a legal classification which deviated from the opinion of the authorities. The attorneys of the companies involved (Oberhammer Rechtsanwälte for the Austrian company, Grilc Vouk Škof for the Croatian company) have lodged complaints against this, and the Styrian Regional Administrative Court (Landesverwaltungsgericht Steiermark) has fortunately initiated the preliminary ruling procedure at the ECJ.

The attorneys Mag Ewald Oberhammer and Mag Rudolf Vouk, who represented their clients before the European Court of Justice, declare that today’s ruling of the European Court of Justice is a landmark decision. The existing Austrian legal situation has been unanimously criticised for years; it has been repeatedly argued that the absurdly high penalties that Austria imposes for formal offences are contrary to the European freedom to provide services. Unfortunately, the Austrian Supreme Courts have so far not been willing to accept this criticism and to initiate preliminary rulings or to conclude that the penalties are incompatible with the principle of proportionality of the sanctions.

The ruling has far-reaching consequences for all pending proceedings in connection with the Austrian Law on Wage and Social Dumping, since according to the findings of the European Court of Justice, essential provisions of this law are inapplicable as of today. These proceedings also concern many foreign companies, including Czech ones. The law firms Oberhammer and Grilc Vouk Skof are very pleased with this judgement, as it sets a clear course for the future understanding of the common market in Austria and fully confirms the opinion that has been expressed by the attorneys in numerous proceedings.

https://www.sgz.at/news/detail/de/sodishche-eu-ovrglo-protidumpinshke-kazni

https://volksgruppen.orf.at/slovenci/meldungen/stories/3012550/

https://steiermark.orf.at/stories/3012523/

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Three professionals.

The main practice areas of the law firm Grilc Vouk Škof are commercial and corporate law in Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro. Furthermore, we also provide all “standard legal services” – handling everything from purchase agreements to the recovery of debts, from divorces to traffic accidents. Years of professional experience guarantee the quality of our legal advice.

All partners, lawyers and assistants at the law firm Grilc Vouk Škof are multilingual, which enables us to communicate with clients in their own language and without consulting translators. Our main goal is to tender our clients with tailor-made solutions - promptly, innovatively and effectively.

Rudi Vouk
Rudi Vouk

+43 (0)463 542 67 vouk@gvs3.at

Dr. Maria Škof
Dr. Maria Škof

+43 (0)463 542 67 skof@gvs3.at

Dr. Roland Grilc
Dr. Roland Grilc

+43 (0)463 542 67 grilc@gvs3.at

Team play

Naturally, our clients expect only the best performance and the best results. A reliable and qualified team is hereby of essential importance. Flexibility, commitment and an extensive knowledge of languages can guarantee customized and efficient solutions.

Competences

European Law

Situated on the intersection of several countries, the mastery of the European law is most essential. On a daily basis we deal with fundamental...

Situated on the intersection of several countries, the mastery of the European law is most essential. On a daily basis we deal with fundamental questions regarding jurisdiction, applicable law and feasibility of EU directives. The law firm Grilc Vouk Škof has successfully represented clients in numerous proceedings before the European Court of Justice (preliminary rulings).

Commercial Law

In the field of Commerical Law law we provide our clients a “full legal service” in Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia...

In the field of Commerical Law law we provide our clients a “full legal service” in Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro.

We assist clients in setting up business enterprises, acquiring assets, obtaining licenses, providing advice in relation to entering into the aforementioned markets, addressing real estate issues, handling financing and securitizations, processing building projects, recovering debts, and managing the commencement and termination of employment relationships.

Contract Law

  • purchase contracts
  • share and asset purchase contracts
  • contracts related to real estate
  • facility agreements and securitizations
  • ...
  • purchase contracts
  • share and asset purchase contracts
  • contracts related to real estate
  • facility agreements and securitizations
  • fiduciary payments
  • standard business terms
  • acting as commercial representatives
  • distribution agreements and franchise agreements
  • building contracts

Labour Law

There are fundamental differences between the Austrian labour law and the labour law in Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia, e.g. with regard to the...

There are fundamental differences between the Austrian labour law and the labour law in Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia, e.g. with regard to the termination of employment contracts, the calculation of remuneration, as well as the conclusion of contracts for an indeterminate period of time.
We advice our clients in Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia while bearing in mind these fundamental differences.

Furthermore, the law firm Grilc Vouk Škof regularly advises clients in relation to posted workers, related social insurance and tax issues.

Arbitration

The partners at the law firm Grilc Vouk Škof often represent Austrian, Slovenian and Croatian companies in arbitration proceedings.

The partners at the law firm Grilc Vouk Škof often represent Austrian, Slovenian and Croatian companies in arbitration proceedings.

Civil Law

We also advise clients in the following areas of expertise:

  • Damages
  • Product liability
  • Civil nuisance
  • Law of traffic accidents
  • ...

We also advise clients in the following areas of expertise:

  • Damages
  • Product liability
  • Civil nuisance
  • Law of traffic accidents
  • Insurance law
  • Transport law

Family law and Law of inheritance

We represent clients also in the following areas:

  • divorce and division of marital assets
  • maintenance and care

Furthermore, we advice...

We represent clients also in the following areas:

  • divorce and division of marital assets
  • maintenance and care

Furthermore, we advice clients on inheritance issues
in Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and
Montenegro.

Human rights, fundamental freedoms, right of asylum

The partners and lawyers of Grilc Vouk Škof have specific knowledge of issues regarding human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The law firm Grilc...

The partners and lawyers of Grilc Vouk Škof have specific knowledge of issues regarding human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The law firm Grilc Vouk Škof has successfully argued many cases before the Austrian Constitutional Court and the European Court of Human Rights. Thereby we place great emphasis on transparency towards our clients and inform them about their specific prospects of success.

Minority rights

All partners and several employees of the law firm Grilc Vouk Škof are members of the Slovenian ethnic minority in Carinthia. Therefore, particular...

All partners and several employees of the law firm Grilc Vouk Škof are members of the Slovenian ethnic minority in Carinthia. Therefore, particular attention is also paid to minority rights.

The law firm Grilc Vouk Škof has successfully brought a wide range of actions before the Austrian Constitutional Court and achieved numerous groundbreaking decisions, e.g. the decision on bilingual place-name signs and the decision regarding the use of Slovenian as an official language in Carinthia.

Criminal Law

The law firm Grilc Vouk Škof frequently represents clients in criminal law proceedings before Austrian courts. Particularly in this field of law...

The law firm Grilc Vouk Škof frequently represents clients in criminal law proceedings before Austrian courts. Particularly in this field of law direct communication with clients and familiarity with their mentality are of inestimable value and pose a significant advantage.

Workshops and lectures

For over 25 years, the partners of the law firm Grilc Vouk Škof have regularly been holding lectures and workshops on issues in the fields of...

For over 25 years, the partners of the law firm Grilc Vouk Škof have regularly been holding lectures and workshops on issues in the fields of commercial and corporate law in Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro.

History & International cooperation

Founded by dr. Matthäus Grilc in the year 1979, the law firm Grilc Vouk Škof has vast knowledge of the commercial law and political relations in Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro.

Since the early 1980ies, the law firm Grilc Vouk Škof has advised many companies from the former Yugoslavia now carrying out their business activities in Austria.
Since the independence of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia in the 1990ies, our law firm has regularly advised German and Austrian entities on their business activities in the successor states of the former Yugoslavia.

The law firm Grilc Vouk Škof was shareholder of the first private limited liability company with foreign shareholders established in the former Yugoslavia after 1945.

Furthermore, the law firm Grilc Vouk Škof is one of the founders of the SLG Slavia Law Group, a European association of lawyers specializing in the legal systems of Central and Eastern Europe.

Contact

The law firm Grilc Vouk Škof has four locations: the home office in Klagenfurt and offices in Graz, in Ljubljana and in Vienna. This enables us to provide direct and effective services in the heart of Europe.

Klagenfurt/Celovec

A-9020 Klagenfurt/Celovec
Karfreitstraße 14/III
Phone: +43 (0)463 542 67
Fax: +43 (0)463 542 67 77
office@gvs3.at
facebook.com/grilc.vouk.skof

Rechtsanwaltskammer für Kärnten

Graz/Gradec

A-8020 Graz/Gradec
Grieskai 76
Phone: +43 (0)316 72 22 20
Fax: +43 (0)316 72 22 20 330
office@gvs3.at
facebook.com/grilc.vouk.skof

Steiermärkische Rechtsanwaltskammer

Ljubljana

SI-1000 Ljubljana
Komenskega ulica 12
Phone: +386 (0)129 270 68
office@gvs3.at
facebook.com/grilc.vouk.skof

Odvetniška zbornica Slovenije

Vienna

A-1010 Vienna
Zelinkagasse 6
Phone: +43 (0)1 397 94 05
Fax: +43 (0)463 542 67 77
office@gvs3.at
facebook.com/grilc.vouk.skof

Wiener Rechtsanwaltskammer