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The Horizontal Effect of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights: a Constitutional Analysis

Frantziou, E; (2016) The Horizontal Effect of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights: a Constitutional Analysis. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

This thesis analyses the horizontal effect of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union from a constitutional perspective. It advances two main arguments: firstly, it argues that the horizontal effect of the Charter cannot be usefully discussed based on the existing EU horizontality doctrine. In the case law, horizontality is primarily associated with the exercise of horizontal direct effect. It is characterised by a series of technical rules as to how the latter may be produced and has a case-specific nature that lacks overall constitutional coherence. However, the horizontal effect of a fundamental rights list has organisational implications for society, which go beyond specific intersubjective disputes. Secondly, the thesis argues that a constitutional model of horizontality is required. This model necessitates constitutional reasoning by the Court of Justice, in the sense of public justification. In light of the Charter’s inherently political role in the EU project, its application to private relations rests upon a reconstruction of the EU public sphere. It requires an explicit recognition of the public character of certain private platforms of will formation (e.g. the workplace) and a discussion of the role of fundamental rights therein. At the same time, a constitutionally adequate model of horizontality involves an acknowledgment of the supranational character of EU adjudication. The horizontal effect of fundamental rights is applied in different ways in the constitutional orders of the Member States. As the Charter’s purpose was to coordinate the standard of fundamental rights protection and not to harmonise the structures through which it is delivered, national courts remain responsible for assessing the technicalities of its operation. Thus, while the determination of horizontal applicability falls upon the Court of Justice, the parameters of horizontal effect (e.g. direct, indirect or state-mediated effect) rest with national courts.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: The Horizontal Effect of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights: a Constitutional Analysis
Event: University College London
Language: English
Keywords: EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, Horizontality, EU Law, Direct effect, Indirect effect, Political equality, Public/private divide, Constitutional law, Constitutional theory
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Laws
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1531161
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