Direct and Indirect Judicial Control of Community Acts in Practice: The Relation Between Articles 173 and 177 of the EEC Treaty

The European Economic Community (EEC) Treaty contains two different judicial controls over the exercise of the powers granted to the Community by the Treaty: (1) a direct control through an action in the European Court of Justice under article 173 to annul a Community act; and (2) an indirect control through reference by a national court to the Court of Justice under article 177 to review the validity of a Community act. Each of . these controls is designed to ensure the legal exercise of power by Community institutions. In form, however, they are quite different procedures.

The present study seeks to examine the “very complex question” of the relation between articles 173 and 177 and, in particular, the extent of the convergence between these separate procedures. This study begins with an examination of some of the distinctive features of each procedure.