Indirect effect of EU law
Produced in partnership with Laura Bolado
Indirect effect of EU law

The following Public Law guidance note Produced in partnership with Laura Bolado provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Indirect effect of EU law
  • What is indirect effect of EU law?
  • What changed with Marleasing?
  • Which are the limits of the obligation?
  • What has been the CJEU approach in the past few years?
  • Indirect effect in UK courts
  • Conclusion

STOP PRESS: On 23 June 2016, the UK held a referendum on its membership of the EU, with a majority voting in favour of the UK leaving the EU. The full impact of Brexit remains to be established but the UK will remain an EU Member State, fully subject to EU law, until the moment that it leaves. We are reviewing our content on the basis of information available and will keep it under regular review throughout the withdrawal period. In the meantime, for background reading, links to related guidance and policy documents, plus the latest analysis on the potential impact on our content, please refer to our Brexit overview, see: Brexit—overview.

What is indirect effect of EU law?

Indirect effect, or consistent interpretation, is a duty that national courts have, as part of the member state responsible for fulfilment of EU obligations, to interpret national law in light of EU law, but especially with Directives. It achieves indirectly, via judicial interpretation of national law, the result obtainable through direct effect of Directives where that principle cannot be applied. The principle was developed by the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) in Von Colson and its scope later widened in Marleasing.

It is also a means to counteract, at least partially, the negative effects of the non-recognition of horizontal