Supremacy of EC Law

Bosnitania, a federal state and member state of the EU did not implement an EC Directive and Widget Co, which belonged to that country, faces imminent bankruptcy due to this omission. Bosnitania’s regional assemblies also failed to implement the directive and to compound the felony, its Supreme Court ruled that national law had precedence over the Directive.

The doctrines of direct effect and supremacy of EC law over national law have become powerful mechanisms for individuals to invite the ECJ to intervene in the national policy making procedures. Moreover, the national courts have to discard laws and policies that contravene the EC law[1]. The doctrine of direct effect strengthens EC law and the ECJ established it in its case law, which maintains that the Treaty of Rome had bestowed certain individual rights on the citizens of Europe and the national courts were required to protect them. A very important

principle developed by the ECJ is the doctrine of supremacy of EC law over national laws. The preliminary ruling system of the Union was drastically changed by this doctrine. Previous to the supremacy doctrine, national courts could seek the interpretation of the ECJ in conflicts but there was sea change with the development of this doctrine, because individuals can challenge the compatibility of national law with EC law[2].

In Costa v Enel[3], the ECJ established the doctrine of the supremacy of EC law over national law. The EC law became more effective with the concepts of direct effect and supremacy of EC law, thereby making the national law more compatible with the EC law[4]. In Van Gend en Loos[5] case, the ECJ established the doctrine of direct effect and ruled that treaty enforced individual rights had to be protected by the national courts. This empowers European citizens to compel their governments to respect treaty obligations[6].

In the Francovich case it was decided that if a directive has not been transposed into national law then an individual can seek compensation from that member state[7]. Compensation can be claimed if the directive bestows rights on individuals and if there is a relationship between the individual’s loss and failure to transpose the directive. Therefore Widget Co can claim compensation from the Bosnitanian authorities for the losses incurred by it due to non transposition of the directive. Since the Supreme Court has made the directive subservient to national law, Widget Co has to approach the ECJ for redressal.

Bibliography

C – 26/62, N. V. Algemene Transport- en Expeditie Onderneming van Gend & Loos v Nederlandse administratie der belastingen (1963).

C – 6/64, Flamino Costa v ENEL (1964) ECR.

C-9/90 Francovich and Others [1991] ECR I-5357.

Direct Effect, In Encyclopedia of the European Union, 2000, October 16, 2007, http://www.credoreference.com/entry/864447.

European Court of Justice (ECJ), In Encyclopedia of the European Union, 2000, October 16, 2007, http://www.credoreference.com/entry/864566.European Court of Justice (ECJ). (2000). In Encyclopedia of the European Union. Retrieved October 16, 2007, from DISPLAYURL "European Court of Justice (ECJ)." Encyclopedia of the European Union. 2000. CredoReference. 16 October 2007 <DISPLAYURL>. Encyclopedia of the European Union, 2000, s.v. "European Court of Justice (ECJ)," DISPLAYURL (accessed October 16, 2007). http://www.credoreference.com/entry/864566

Supremacy of EC Law. In Encyclopedia of the European Union. 2000, October 16, 2007, http://www.credoreference.com/entry/ .

[1] Ibid. [2] Direct Effect, In Encyclopedia of the European Union, 2000, October 16, 2007, <http://www.credoreference.com/entry/864447> [3] C – 6/64, Flamino Costa v ENEL (1964) ECR [4] Supremacy of EC Law. In Encyclopedia of the European Union. 2000, October 16, 2007, <http://www.credoreference.com/entry/>. [5] C – 26/62, N. V. Algemene Transport- en Expeditie Onderneming van Gend & Loos v Nederlandse administratie der belastingen (1963) [6] European Court of Justice (ECJ), In Encyclopedia of the European Union, 2000, October 16, 2007, <http://www.credoreference.com/entry/864566>European Court of Justice (ECJ). (2000). In Encyclopedia of the European Union. Retrieved October 16, 2007, from DISPLAYURL "European Court of Justice (ECJ)." Encyclopedia of the European Union. 2000. CredoReference. 16 October 2007 <DISPLAYURL>. Encyclopedia of the European Union, 2000, s.v. "European Court of Justice (ECJ)," DISPLAYURL (accessed October 16, 2007). http://www.credoreference.com/entry/864566 [7] C-9/90 Francovich and Others [1991] ECR I-5357.