2 Legisprudence 1 (2008)

handle is hein.journals/legisp2 and id is 1 raw text is: LEGAL CERTAINTY, NON-RETROACTIVITY AND
Juha Raitio*
The article begins with a cursory description of the specific fields where legal
certainty is at stake in the case law of the European Court of Justice. Especially
the non-retroactivity of EC legislation and the protection of legitimate
expectations are relevant in this respect. The conditions for the retroactivity of EC
legislation have been analysed on the basis of the case law. An important part of
the study is a short description concerning the circumstances in which the ECJ
has exceptionally approved retroactive effects of EC legislation. The final chapter
concentrates on the prescribed procedural time limits, indefinitely delayed
actions, sanctions based on EU law and recovery of charges from the perspective
of legal certainty.
Legal certainty, predictability, retroactivity, protection of legitimate expectations,
periods of limitation, sanctions, recovery of charges
What does legal certainty mean? This question might be as broad and difficult as
the question concerning the meaning of democracy, or the rule of law. The
principle of legal certainty cannot be expressed by definitions alone, because it is
an underlying general principle of law. Nevertheless, various elements of legal
certainty have been analysed in the legal literature from a theoretical
perspective.1 In Aarnio's and Peczenik's theoretical works2 as well as in some
* Juha Raitio, Professor of European Law, University of Helsinki. P.O. Box 4, 00014 University
of Helsinki, e-mail: juha.raitio@helsinki.fi.
1 F Bydlinski, Juristische Methodenlehre und Rechtsbegriff(Wien, Springer Verlag, 1982), 325-
329. He proposes four elements of legal certainty, namely Rechtsklarheit, Sicherung der
Rechtsdurchsetzung, Stabilitat des Rechts, Zugdnglichkeit des Rechts.

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