The Direct Effect of European Directives: Towards the Final Act?

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According to the doctrine of horizontal direct effect certain provisions of a Directive may apply within a Member State between individuals and may be invoked before a national court without first being implemented by the national legislature. When the E.E.C. treaty was signed, it was far from obvious that Directives could apply directly, in any manner, within a Member State. Indeed the opposite seemed true, that Directives required implementation by the Member State under all circumstances for their provisions to have direct effect within Member States legal systems. The E.C.J nevertheless, and without regard to the language and the rationale of the Treaty, decided that Directives may be invoked in certain relations between an individual and the Member State-so called vertical direct effect. Until very recently, the European Court has denied in principle all attempts to decisively expand this flawed concept to situations of horizontal direct effect. This has occurred despite some circumventions of this rejection in the case law. This article considers the theoretical coherence and development of the controversy concerning the principle of direct horizontal effect of EU Directives.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)401-426
Number of pages26
JournalColumbia Journal of European Law
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2007


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