Eu directives lay down certain end results to be achieved in every member state. No horizontal direct effect.

EU Legislation - a quiz Blockbusters Quiz


Directives cover many topics including company law, banking and insurance. Directives are a secondary source of legislation. The EU use directives in order to achieve harmonisation of laws within Member States requiring them to achieve a particular result but giving each state a certain amount of discretion as to how the precise rules are to be adopted.


As with regulations it is Article 288 (TFEU) that gives the power to the Union to issue directives. Article 288 states that directives are:

'....... binding, as to the result to be achieved, upon the Member States to whom they are addressed. However, those Member States are left the choice of form and methods to achieve their objectives. Directives may be addressed to individual, several or all Member States. In order to ensure that the objectives laid down in directives become applicable to individual citizens, an act of transposition (or ‘national implementing measure’) by national legislators is required, whereby national law is adapted to the objectives laid down in directives. Individual citizens are given rights and bound by the legal act only when the directive is transposed into national law.

Since the Member States are only bound by the objectives laid down in directives, they have some discretion, in transposing them into national law, in taking account of specific national circumstances. Transposition must be effected within the period laid down in a directive. In transposing directives, the Member States must select the national forms which are best suited to ensure the effectiveness of Union law, based on the principle of sincere cooperation enshrined in Article 4(3) TEU. Directives must be transposed in the form of binding national legislation which fulfils the requirements of legal certainty and legal clarity and establishes a position whereby individuals can rely on the rights derived from the directive. Regulations which have been adopted as a result of directives may not subsequently be amended contrary to the objectives of those directives (‘blocking’ effect of directives).'

The difference between directives and regulations is that directives 'bind any Member State to which they are addressed as to the result to be acheived, while leaving to domestic agencies a competence as to form and mean' meaning that Member States will pass their own laws to bring directives into effect. Regulations on the other hand take effect and are binding in every Member State from when they are passed. In the United Kingdom they are usually implemented by Statutory Instruments such as  The Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1994. They can be implemented by other law making methods e.g The Consumer Protection Act 1987. Directives can also be implemented by an order in Council made by the Privy Council.

Another type of a directive is the The Working Time Directive.

Directives have vertical direct effect if they give individual rights and are clear (Marshall Case).

Directives have no horizontal effect Duke v GEC Reliance Ltd [1987]  but individuals can claim against the state for loss caused by failure to implement a directive Frankovich v Italian Republic 1991. 

EUROPA - Regulations, Directives and other acts



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