9 Colum. J. Eur. L. 141 (2002)
Tim Corthaut. Assistant at the Institute for European Law, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven.
In 1963 the European Court of Justice (hereafter the ECJ) significantly restricted the possibility for individuals to bring actions for annulment. This would not have been problematic with regard to the fundamental right to effective judicial protection if individuals were able to obtain equally effective judicial protection against acts of the Community institutions through the national courts. In recent times, it has become apparent that such national protection is not always present. Especially if a directly applicable Community act does not require national implementing acts, an individual may well be deprived of any possibility of obtaining judicial review of such a Community act. The two cases that are discussed hereafter deal precisely with this kind of situation. They are among the most important judgements of the last decade, because they represent the first time that the Court of First Instance (hereafter the CFI) and the ECJ have examined this problem closely with a view of revising the case law. Unfortunately, the judgements of these two courts are hardly reconcilable. The CFI has opted to dramatically change the conditions for admissibility of actions for annulment brought by individuals. The ECJ, on the other hand, has stubbornly defended the previous restrictive approach, even as that approaches’ rationale becomes ever less convincing. In so doing, the ECJ has failed to fill a widely recognized gap in the system of judicial protection. This task is now left to the Member States through the next Intergovernmental Conference.