European Union directives have to be transposed into national law before the rules laid down in these directives can be invoked before a court. In other words: directives do not have direct effect. However, under certain conditions, directives may gain vertical direct effect which allows individuals to invoke the directive in relation to a member state. The question whether a directive can also have horizontal direct effect, which would allow individuals to invoke the directive in relation to other individuals, used to always be answered in the negative.
Over time, however, the Court of Justice of the EU has formulated specific exceptions to this negative answer. After the landmark judgments in Mangold (2004) and Kücükdeveci (2010), the Court had been silent on the question of horizontal direct effect of directives for some time, despite various Advocates General having made a case for horizontal direct effect in their opinions to the Court. In its judgment in AMS (2014), the Court has finally revisited the question of horizontal direct effect of directives, this time making a connection with the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.
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