The EU Legislative Framework
Elgar European Law and Practice series
Chapter 2: KEY PRINCIPLES, PUBLIC ENFORCEMENT AND CASE LAW
The EU legislation facilitating the private enforcement of EU law before national courts on which this book concentrates cannot be properly understood without assessing a number of key principles of EU law, as mostly developed in the case law of the Court of Justice. It concerns in the first place the principles of national procedural autonomy, equivalence, effectiveness and effective judicial protection. These principles are therefore introduced and outlined in Sections A and B below. In addition, account should be taken of the relevant public enforcement mechanisms. For that reason the possibilities and obligations under EU law for EU and national public authorities to bring legal actions to ensure compliance with and the enforcement of that law are briefly assessed in Section C. In the last section of this chapter attention turns to five key judgments of the Court of Justice that are of particular importance in connection with the private enforcement of EU law. The principle of national procedural autonomy is of obvious importance when discussing issues related to the private enforcement of EU law before national courts. After a general introduction of this principle below a number of more specific remarks are made on the meaning of this principle. This is followed by an assessment of the principles of equivalence and effectiveness that limit the Member States’ scope for autonomous decision-making in this regard.
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