The effect of EU law

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This chapter examines the effect of EU law in the national courts of the Member States and its status vis-à-vis overlapping rules of national law. It begins with the emergence in the 1960s and 1970s of direct effect and primacy, the radical notions that EU law may be relied on by individuals before the national courts of the Member States and take precedence over conflicting rules of national law. It then considers the extent to which Union acts may have direct effect. Here the focus is on the directive, which has produced such a large and complex body of case law. The various devices to which the European Court of Justice has resorted to mitigate its conclusion in the mid 1980s that directives could not be relied on by one individual against another are subjected to critical scrutiny. The discussion turns next to the principle of State liability in damages for breaching EU law, a principle which emerged in the case law of the ECJ in the early 1990s as a potentially powerful addition to direct effect and primacy. The chapter ends with discussion of the rejection by many national courts of the doctrine of primacy in the extreme form espoused by the ECJ. Finally, there is a short conclusion reflecting on the role of the ECJ in this field.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationA Companion to European Union Law and International Law
EditorsDennis Patterson, Anna Sodersten
Place of PublicationChichester
ISBN (Print)9780470674390
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2016


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