The European Court of Justice and the Supremacy of Ec Law

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THE EUROPEAN COURT OF JUSTICE AND
THE SUPREMACY OF EC LAW

I. INTRODUCTION

In the making and promulgation of Community law, the European Court of
Justice (ECJ) plays a crucial role. Many of the fundamental doctrines of EC law are not to be found in the Treaties, or secondary EC legislation, but in the case law of the European Court.

No provision of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) contains an express term regulating the issue of the supremacy between the Community and the various national laws of the Member States. The only implied reference to the issue of supremacy is Article 10[1] of the TEU which imposes a duty on all Member States to adopt appropriate measures to ensure that the obligations of the Treaty are observed, together with an additional duty to abstain from all acts which might jeopardise the achievement of the objectives of the Treaty.

Article 10 states that:

“Member States shall take all appropriate measures, whether general or particular, to ensure fulfillment of the obligations arising out of this Treaty or resulting from action taken by the institutions of the Community. They shall facilitate the achievement of the Community’s tasks.

They shall abstain from any measure which could jeopardise the attainment of the objectives of this Treaty.”.

Thus, the principle of the supremacy of Community law over national law was first established by the European Court of Justice whose role is explicitly stated in Article 220[2] of the TEU:

“The Court of Justice shall ensure that in the interpretation and application of this Treaty the law is observed.”

Prior to an analysis of the doctrine of supremacy and the relevant case law and implementation of the doctrine, an introduction into the composition, structure and practices of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) will be followed.

THE EUROPEAN COURT OF JUSTICE

• Composition and

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