direct effect
the doctrine in the law of the European Communities that states that a Community Act has direct effect when those who are subject to Community law are given a right. It applies to individuals and institutions. Persons who benefit from the right can sue for their protection in their national courts. These rights must be respected regardless of the domestic law, thus this is an inherent part of the notion of the supremacy of European law. The features looked for are that the measure should be clear, concise, unconditional and allow no discretion to the member states or Community institutions. regulations nearly always have direct effect. A directive can also have a direct effect, but this is ascertained taking each case on its merits. The Court of Justice of the European Communities has held that a directive can have vertical direct effect, which occurs where the measure in question is capable of producing rights between the addressee, which is usually the member state, and a third party: see Nederlandse Ondernemingen v. Inspecteur der Inveroerrechten en Accijnzen [1977] ECR 113. More difficult is horizontal direct effect, which is the situation where one third party could utilise the Act to sue another fourth party. The case law is not completely settled on the matter, although on balance it may be against horizontal direct effect: Marshall v . Southampton and South-West Hampshire Area Health Authority [1986] ECR 723; Beets-Proper v . V a n Lanschot Bankiers [1986] ECR 773; and see Colson v. Land Nordrhein-Westfallen [1984] ECR 3415.

Collins dictionary of law. . 2001.


direct effect
The ability of a piece of EC legislation to be enforced by an individual in a court of a member state. Direct effect may be vertical (that is, the EC legislation can be enforced against the state or an emanation of the state, such as a nationalised industry or privatised utility) or horizontal (that is, it may be enforced against another individual). A piece of EC law has direct effect if it is clear and precise, unconditional and does not give the member states substantial discretion in its application. For a directive to have direct effect, there is a further requirement that the time limit for implementation by the member states has expired. Case law has held that EC Treaty articles and regulations may have both vertical and horizontal effect but that unimplemented directives may have only horizontal direct effect.
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European Union, United Kingdom
The ability of a piece of EU legislation to be enforced by an individual in a court of a member state. Direct effect may be vertical (that is, the EU legislation can be enforced against the state or an emanation of the state, such as a nationalised industry or privatised utility) or horizontal (that is, it may be enforced against another individual). A provision of EU law has direct effect if it is clear and precise, unconditional and does not give the member states substantial discretion in its application. For a directive to have direct effect, there is a further requirement that the time limit for implementation by the member states has expired. Case law has held that provisions of what is now the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) and regulations may have both vertical and horizontal effect, but that directives only have vertical direct effect. See also indirect effect.
For further details, see Practice note, Statutory interpretation and EU law.
Glossary

Practical Law Dictionary. Glossary of UK, US and international legal terms. . 2010.

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