Its now official – tennis racquets are not a deadly weapon



Case C-345/06 can be downloaded from the European Court of Justice (ECJ) here:


Gottfried Heinrich (an airline passenger) took airport authorities to the European Court of Justice after he was prevented from boarding his plane at Vienna-Schwechat airport on 25th September 2005. Airport security officials told him he could not take tennis racquets onto the plane as hand luggage, as they were classed as “prohibited articles” under an unpublished annex to EU regulation 2320/2002 (although tennis racquets were not specifically prevented, there is a catch-all prohibition banning Bludgeons: Blackjacks, billy clubs, baseball clubs or similar instruments”).


An Austrian administrative court agreed with Mr Heinrich that because that the rules in question had never been published, they were therefore not enforceable against individual passengers. In light of the public importance of the decision, they referred the matter onto the ECJ who also agreed, stating in particular that:


“The principle of legal certainly requires that Community rules enable those concerned to know precisely the extent of the obligations which are imposed on them. Individuals must be able to ascertain unequivocally what their rights and obligations are and take steps accordingly,” [44]

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About Kris

Associate Professor in Sports Law, Staffordshire University; British Gymnastics Senior Coach

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