Direct Effect of Directives

Directives are applied by virtue of the doctrine of Direct Effect which can be applied vertically or horizontally. Vertical Direct Effect is applicable against the Member States and its agents in the event a directive is either improperly implemented by a Member State or not implemented within the timeframe provided for its implementation. Direct Horizontal Effect applies between citizens within the European Community and is only applicable if the EC Directive has been properly implemented.3 The ineffectiveness of the Direct Horizontal Effect has been the subject of much debate among jurists and academics alike.Instead, it is a principle of law formulated and developed by the European Court of Justice. The original rule was formulated by the European Court of Justice in the case of Van Gend en Loos v. Nederlandse Administratie der Belastingen (Case 26/62). [1963] ECR 1. In this case, it was held that individual rights conferred upon the individual by virtue of EC law should be enforceable in the national courts. This right, however, was qualified in the following manner:…wherever the provisions of a directive appear…to are unconditional and sufficiently precise, those provisions may, in the absence of implementing measures adopted within the prescribed period, be relied upon as against any national provision which is incompatible with the directive or in so far as the provisions define rights which individuals are able to assert against the State.Ideally, Directives have the force of law throughout the European Community. In fact in Van Duyn v Home Office, the European Court expounded upon its previous ruling in Van Gend en Loos v. Nederlandse Administratie der Belastingen setting the tone by holding that Directives are unconditional if they were capable of strict application and not subject to an element of judicial navigation.