Direct Effect Case Study

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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
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The basic principle governing the concerned area would have direct effect if it was sufficiently certain, even if there was a lack of measures at a Community or national level. Before 1974, direct effect was restricted to treaty articles and regulations but Van Duyn v Home Office changed this in allowing directives to have vertical effect. It was judged that since directives had a binding effect, they had to have direct effect; or as the court put it: “[i]t would be incompatible with the binding effect attributed to a directive by article 189 to exclude, in principle, the possibility that the obligation which it imposes may be invoked by those concerned.” European law would not be effectively enjoyed and applied if individuals were not able to invoke their rights before the national …show more content…
This right to bring action before a national court has been broadened in Defrenne v Sabena when it was ruled that individuals can rely on horizontal effect, that is to say they can enforce their rights against individuals. This enables individual rights to be protected in a fuller manner as this new category makes the cases in which direct effect can be applied much more numerous. Therefore, the situations where rights can be defended have augmented. This is also true to say for Van Duyn as giving direct effect to directives includes even more rights to be protected. Measures of EU law create obligations on member states to ensure that rights are conferred upon individuals in the way they should be and by being able to enforce this rights, individuals are guaranteed of their protection. Nonetheless, the evolution of the principle did not only widen its scope; from time to time, it has also restrained it. By giving a time lapse on the direct effect of directives, the European court of justice conferred less power on individuals to protect their rights. As a directive has to be implemented by the member state, one has to wait until the time given to the member state for the implementation has expired; this seems to be only a

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