To all our Phd readers. In Case 3/00, Mr. Pitsiorlas was trying to collect damages from the EC Institutions. He claimed that "the refusal of the two Community ‘institutions’ to grant him access to the document requested had disrupted his timetable for writing his thesis and was still preventing him – three years and four months after the expiry of the deadline set for handing in his thesis (31 March 2001) – from finishing it and submitting it to the Thessaloniki Faculty of Law".
Now comes the best part. The applicant sought to explain with accuracy the damage suffered from the institutions' refusal to disclose the document:
"The applicant claims, second, that the delay of approximately three and a half years in finishing his thesis caused him very serious non‑material damage consisting in:
– a significant prolongation of his anxieties concerning the completion of his thesis;
– the delay to his career and financial advancement;
– the impossibility of applying for job opportunities in Greece and, in particular, abroad, for which a doctorate was necessary;
– the postponement of a career in an academic environment which requires a doctorate, the resulting uncertainty and the worsening of his situation, in view also of his age;
– the need to update his thesis repeatedly as a result of constant developments in the EMU and the resulting loss of time and fatigue;
– the psychological pressure suffered to this day concerning the completion of his thesis, the negative and ironic comments made about him and which continue to be made, and the obligation to have to give an explanation every time he is asked when his thesis will be completed;
– the loss of time and energy brought about by the proceedings before the Court of First Instance and the Court of Justice;
– the psychological strain caused by the length of the proceedings, the outcome of which is fundamental for his future.
The applicant claims that, in those circumstances, he should be awarded the sum of EUR 90 000 (!) by way of compensation for the non‑material damage which he has suffered".
The CFI - rightly - dismissed the action. I stressed, in bold, bits which will make sense to anyone who has gone through a doctoral dissertation.