Horizontal Direct Effect

Topics: European Union, European Union law, Treaty of Lisbon Pages: 3 (805 words) Published: August 19, 2010
Horizontal direct effect
Horizontal direct effect is a legal doctrine developed by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) whereby individuals can rely on the direct effect of provisions in the Treaties, which confer individual rights, in order to make claims against other private individuals before national courts. By virtue of the doctrine of the ‘direct effect’ of Treaty provisions, individuals can rely directly on EC law before their national courts. There is no need for implementation of EC law by Member States through national law. The ECJ’s creation of the doctrine was driven by Member States’ failure to comply with EC law. The initial rationale of ‘direct effect’ – to secure the effectiveness (‘effet utile’ in French) of EC law by enabling individuals to rely on EC law against Member States that fail to implement or comply with EC law (vertical direct effect) – was then extended to allow individuals to rely on Treaty provisions against other private individuals also: for example, requiring respect for the principle in Article 141 EC of equal pay for women and men (Defrenne v. Sabena, Case 43/75). The initial rationale of ‘direct effect’ was partially changed when the question arose of the direct effect of directives. The Court held that the doctrine of direct effect did apply to directives. However, directives had only ‘vertical’ direct effect; that is, they could be relied on only vis-à-vis a Member State. Therefore, individuals could only claim the rights conferred by directives against the state or emanations of the state . This more limited version of the doctrine prevented individuals claiming rights under the directive as against other private actors (‘horizontal’ direct effect). However, the state may appear in a number of emanations of public authority. The scope of the ‘different emanations of the state’ depends on the criteria developed by the European Court to define them (Foster v. British Gas, Case C-188/89, [1990] ECR I-3313). Nonetheless, the...
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