Born into the International order, the European Community law can touch people only through the juridical order of its Member State.
Therefore arises the question about the relationship between EC law and domestic law.
The EC law concerns much more directly individuals than the international law. One of the main issues of the EC law is the invocability of EC law by the individuals in domestic courts.
Normally, EC law has to be implemented in the domestic legal order of the Member States but there arises a difficulty: individuals are bound by the implementation of its State which can be quite different from the EC law - or inexistent.
The ECJ thinks that the EC legal order has a specific relationship with the legal order of its Member State which is characterized on the one hand by the primacy of EC law (ECJ Costa v. Enel of the 15th July 1964, 6/64, R. p.1141), and on the other hand by the autonomy of EC law (ECJ Van Gend en Loos 5th February 1963, 26/62, R. p.1). The plain effect of the EC law being the consequences of the former principles and being necessary for them to really exist, the ECJ created the theory of direct effect. By this theory, the ECJ allowed the direct invocability of dispositions of EC law by individuals. Indeed, States are not always very compliant with the implementation of the EC law, thus for the EC law to have a plain effect, the States level in the implementation has to be skipped.
The first purpose of the ECJ is the efficiency of the EC law. This efficiency has been firstly concentrated on the individual's rights. But afterwards, this goal widened and incorporates other "sub-goals" such as the protection of environment and to make a more real EU for individuals through an EC law they can directly attain. But the purpose is still the efficiency of the EC law.
The theory of direct effect is a very good tool for this goal to be achieved. Indeed, direct effect means that the EC rules produced effects on individuals without any intervention of the States.
In order to have a better understanding of this theory and its consequences, we will see in a first part its origins and criteria, in a second part the application of this theory to the different acts of EC law, and finally some national reactions towards the theory of the direct effect.
[...] They are directly applicable if the two conditions are fulfilled. Firstly, the conditions of the Van Gend en Loos case must be satisfied (ECJ Demirel case of the 30th September 1987,12/86, R. p.3747). And the ECJ checks the goal, the object and the context of the agreement. That is to say the will of the party to give the agreement a direct effect. III. National reactions The enforcement of the EC law should be uniform in all the Member States. [...]
[...] Nevertheless, the ECJ recognizes that the directive is a nominative act, which has no direct effect in itself without the fulfilment of certain conditions. Indeed two conditions are required for giving a directive a direct effect: - Firstly, the delay for the implementation (between one and two years) is over without any transposition or a wrong one. If a directive is correctly implemented it has no direct effect. The domestic provisions are to be applied. The directive can be invoke by an individual only if the Member State has maintained in its national law provisions contrary to the directive. [...]
[...] Limits of the direct effect: no horizontal effect. Until 1979 nothing in the case law of the ECJ was indicating an intention to distinct between the vertical direct effect and the horizontal one. Nevertheless, it is possible that in front of the reluctances of some domestic courts as the French Conseil d´Etat in the Cohn Bendit case of the 22nd December 1978, the ECJ tries to justify its case law and to limit its effects. In the Ratti case of the 5th April 1979, 148/78, R. [...]
[...] The theory of direct effect is a very good tool for this goal to be achieved. Indeed, direct effect means that the EC rules produced effects on individuals without any intervention of the States. In order to have a better understanding of this theory and its consequences, we will see in a first part its origins and criteria, in a second part the application of this theory to the different acts of EC law, and finally some national reactions towards the theory of the direct effect. [...]
[...] This is the translation in the UK law of the indirect effect as seen above. C. France The direct effect theory has not met any particular opposition from the French jurisdictions except from the Conseil d´Etat (The French supreme administrative court). The problem appeared about the EC directives; indeed the Conseil d´Etat always accepts the direct effect of the other EC acts. The Conseil d´Etat in the Cohn Bendit case of the 22nd December 1978 considered that individuals could not invoke provisions of a directive against an administrative act addressed to an individual. [...]
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