University of Cambridge, Faculty of Law

Wednesday 28th November 2012, 13:00

CELS Lunchtime Seminar: 'The Import of International Customary Law into the EU Legal Order: The Adequacy of the Theory of Direct Effect'

A Lecture by Nicolas Croquet McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP


Nicolas Croquet will speak on the topic of 'The Import of International Customary Law into the EU Legal Order: The Adequacy of the Theory of Direct Effect'.

The purpose of this presentation is to ascertain whether the theory of direct effect is adequate to tackle the relation between the EU legal order and international customary law (including jus cogens norms), drawing an analogy with the reception of other international norms (decisions of international bodies; international treaties and general principles of international law) in EU law. Direct effect has a narrow and a broad meaning. The narrow or classic meaning refers to the ability of an international norm to produce individual rights regardless of the avenue wherein it is invoked.  The broad meaning connotes the aptitude of an international norm to be invoked before an EU or a Member State’s court, for the purpose of either directly enforcing a subjective right (subjective action) or of precluding the applicability of a national or EU law measure that would be inconsistent therewith (objective action).

In Racke, the European Court of Justice referred to the criterion of ‘manifest error of assessment’ when ascertaining whether the Council had sufficiently accounted for the international customary law regarding the termination and suspension of international treaties based on a fundamental change of circumstances.  The Air Transport Association of America case reflects, in this respect, a divergence of positions between the Advocate General  and the Court of Justice  regarding the need to apply the criteria of direct effect traditionally associated with international treaties: (i) whether the broad logic and nature of the norm prevents it from being directly relied upon by individuals; (ii) whether the international norm appears to be sufficiently precise; and (iii) whether the international norm is unconditional.




Wednesday 28th November 2012



1:00pm (with a sandwich lunch, from 12:45pm)



B16, Faculty of Law

CELS - Lunchtime Seminar Programme and Information »

Please note the lecture programme is subject to revision without notice.