Effect Of Direct Effect On The Protection Of Individual Rights

1448 Words Nov 11th, 2016 6 Pages
Direct effect is a principle enabling individuals to rely on European provisions before a national or European court. This principle was broadened and defined over time through cases brought before, and rulings of, the European Court of Justice. To understand how direct effect evolved and to what extent it protects individual rights, we must look at those cases and rulings in a chronological matter. I will firstly examine direct effect’s scope of application over time, and then turn my attention to how the extension of its scope of application affected the protection of individual rights.

The doctrine of direct effect was born in 1963 in the case known as Van Gend En Loos.
The case was brought before the European court of justice by a postal and transportation company which had to pay a tariff when importing to the Netherlands. The Dutch government was in breach of Article 12 of the Treaty of Rome and it raised the question of “wether Article 12 of the EEC Treaty has direct application within the territory of a Member State; in other words, whether nationals of such a State can, on the basis of the Article in question, lay claim to individual rights which the court must protect.” The court ruled that, although the treaty was ratified by and binding upon member states, individuals can rely on it. Indeed, the treaty creates a common market and individuals rights, these need to be protected and so individuals can act as a private enforcement of EU law. The case was a true…

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