Direct effect is the capacity of a norm of EU law to be applied in domestic court proceedings, whereas primacy (or supremacy) denotes the capacity of that norm to overrule inconsistent norms of national law in domestic court proceedings. The two principles are closely linked, and are characteristic features of the EU legal order. In the spirit of the volume, this chapter discusses the evolution of the European Court’s case law dealing with the two principles, with special attention to the circumstances in which the Court ‘invented’ the doctrines of direct effect and primacy almost sixty years ago. The chapter draws the attention to some less explored aspects of the evolution of the European Court’s case law and discusses the generally friendly, but also occasionally frosty, reception of that case law by its addressees, the national courts of the member states.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Evolution of EU Law
EditorsPaul Craig, Grainne de Burca
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)978019284656-3
ISBN (Print)9780192846556
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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