By Sanna Katariina Elfving, PhD student (University of Surrey)

Brought before the European Union General Court on 11 January 2010, Case T 18/10 R [2010] OJ C 100/41, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and Others v Parliament and Council  challenges the European Union by seeking the annulment of Regulation (EC) No 1007/2009 on trade in seal products which imposed a ban on imports into the EU and sale of products deriving from all species of seals on 20 August 2010.

The applicants (natural persons, commercial companies and non-profit-making organisations and associations representing Inuit interests) have also applied for interim measures on the grounds that the regulation causes them ‘serious and irreparable harm’ as it affects their living conditions (1) by preventing them from exporting their seal products to the EU and (2) interfering with the whole social fabric of Inuit communities since seal hunting forms part of their ancestral tradition.

Although the General Court dismissed the two applications for interim measures in April 2010 and October 2010, the decisions are still significant because the arguments submitted by the applicants involve a range of issues relating to the legislative competence of the EU institutions, the standing rules of private applicants before the European Courts, the application of the fundamental human rights within the EU as well as the status of Indigenous peoples in EU law.

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