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‘ACCESS TO JUSTICE’ AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE VAN GEND EN LOOS DOCTRINE: THE ROLE OF COURTS AND OF THE INDIVIDUAL IN EU LAW

Nasiya Daminova
Keywords: Van Gend en Loos, access to justice, EU individual, preliminary reference procedure, European Convention on Human Rights, Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union ,

Abstract

The ‘access to justice’ within the meaning of the Treaty of Lisbon and the pertinent CJEU jurisprudence is primarily seen as access to the EU judicial system, i.e. to the EU Member States’ national courts applying the EU Law or/and the CJEU. The concept of ‘access to justice’ is therefore developing such premises of the Van Gend en Loos judgment as direct effect, vigilance of the EU individual, and the symbiotic relationship between the CJEU and national courts via the preliminary reference procedure. This work aims to explore the development of two basic ideas of Van Gend en Loos, i.e. granting directly enforceable EU rights to individuals and authorizing national courts to protect those rights, in light of the ‘access to justice’ concept within the meaning of the Lisbon Treaty – considering their importance for the realization of EU individuals’ substantive rights and uncertainty surrounding this issue. The paper develops a critique of the theory of justice in EU Law, analyzing if and how the Van Gend en Loos premises influenced the role of individuals making an attempt to claim their EU rights and the role of the EU courts responsible for the enforcement of ‘access to justice’ in the European Union. The claim of this paper is that the new concept of ‘access to justice’ brought by the Lisbon Treaty may be seen as the further development of the Van Gend ‘federalizing effect’ for greater integration through law and an enhanced protection of the individual within the EU multilevel system of Human Rights protection.