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It has already been established that EU law is supreme over that of Member States and other related organisations. This page shall explore the different effects of this supremacy.

Direct effect

Direct effect of a legal measure means that individual citizens of member states may rely on that measure in national courts. This is not to be confused with direct applicability, which refers to the lack of an implementation requirement. Van Gend En Loos [1963], which introduced this concept, finding that Treaty provisions were directly effective if they were clear and concise, unconditional and did not require implementation. The relied upon Treaty provision was directly effective, such that an import duty was found to be illegal. It is perhaps ironic that direct effect pre-dates the CJEU’s declaration of EU supremacy the year after in Costa v ENEL [1964].

Although a Treaty provision must be unconditional to be directly effective, as illustrated by Defrenne v Sabena [1976], exceptions have been made by the CJEU in cases such as Van Duyn [1974], where a conditional right not to discriminate was found to be unconditional for the purpose of direct effect.

There are two types of direct effect: horizontal and vertical. Horizontal direct effect means that a legal measure may be relied upon in a private dispute (between individuals) and vertical direct effect means that a legal measure is enforceable against the state, such as in Foster v British Gas [1990]...

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