• In the case of Case C-91/92 Faccini Dori v Recreb [1994] ECR I-3325, it was established that directives will not have horizontal direct effect as thus cannot be enforced against individuals nor private parties in disputes.

Facts of Case C-91/92 Faccini Dori v Recreb [1994] ECR I-3325

  • A contract between Miss Faccini Dori (C) and Interdiffusion took place away from the business premises, for an English language course
  • A few days later, the C informed the company she wanted to cancel
  • They replied months later that the claim had been assigned to Recreb, who she then wrote to confirm her that she had cancelled her order and was relying upon the right of cancellation provided by the Directive 85/5777/EEC
  • The Directive aims to improve customer protection and eliminate discrepancy between national laws providing such
  • The Directive says that it is a surprise element to conduct business away from business premises, where the consumer is unable to compare prices, therefore the consumer is given a ‘cooling off’ period of at least 7 days to be assess the obligations of the contract
  • This Directive had not been implemented into Italian law

Issues in Case C-91/92 Faccini Dori v Recreb [1994] ECR I-3325

  • Was the C able to rely upon the Directive against the D private company?

Held by the European Court of Justice

No. The Directive could not be relied upon by the individual against a private company – it did not have horizontal direct effect.

Findings of the Court

The scope of Directives is binding “only in relation to each Member State to which it is addressed and has been established in order to prevent a State from taking advantage of its own failure to comply with Community law” [23]

  • Extending this to “relations between individuals would be to recognize a power in the Community to enact obligations for individuals with immediate effect, whereas it has competence to do so only where it is empowered to adopt regulations.” [24]

Therefore, where there are no measures transposing the Directive, as in the current case, consumers cannot derive such from the Directive directly to apply in national court [25]

A national court must make good by the consumer wronged due to failure to transpose a Directive, if the result prescribed by Community law cannot be achieved by way of interpretation. The following 3 conditions must be fulfilled [27]:

  1. “purpose of the directive must be to grant rights to individuals”
  2. “it must be possible to identify the content of those rights on the basis of the provisions of the directive”
  3. “there must be a causal link between the breach of the State’ s obligation and the damage suffered”