Constitutional Law of the EU

Case Study
Pages 12 (3012 words)
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The provisions of the EC Treaty which explicitly provide for individuals to enforce rights derived from European Community law are limited in their scope. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has therefore developed a number of principles which widens this scope.


Individuals were given the right to bring actions before the ECJ for judicial review of the acts of Community institutions under Article 173. However, as a means of enforcing individual rights, this Article has limited utility as, first, individuals are not permitted to bring actions against Member States and therefore have no rights or remedies where a State violates their Community law rights and, secondly, individuals are required to demonstrate that the measure is a decision which is of direct and individual concern to the applicant.
An individual cannot challenge regulations unless it is demonstrable that it is merely a decision in the garb of a regulation1. The individual must show that the effects of the decision apply directly to the applicant without depending on the exercise of discretion by another body2. Moreover, the decision must affect the individual's legal position3. The ECJ has taken its own view as to the nature and effect of treaties known as the doctrine of 'direct effect.'
The concept of Direct Effect of EC law was developed by the ECJ to allow individuals and organisations to use the provisions of EC law within their Member States' domestic courts without having to wait for the Member State to fulfil some obligation which it had omitted to do. ...
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