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Global Jurist

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The Public–Private Distinction, Autonomy and Free Movement: Unpacking the Assumptions

Mislav Mataija
  • Corresponding author
  • Lecturer, University of Zagreb Faculty of Law, Jean Monnet Department of European Public Law
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Published Online: 2014-05-22 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/gj-2014-0006


This paper discusses the assumptions behind an evergreen issue of EU law – the so-called horizontal effect of the EU Treaty free movement rules. It is usually claimed that the use of those rules to impose duties on individuals should be limited in order to protect private autonomy. Debate on this issue is largely confined to how far those limits should go. This paper takes a step back and questions the central assumptions made both by legal practice and by scholarship: first, the public–private distinction as a basis for applying the EU Treaties; second, the broad argument for “private autonomy”.

Keywords: horizontal effect; public–private distinction; EU law; free movement; private autonomy


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About the article

Published Online: 2014-05-22

Published in Print: 2013-08-01

Citation Information: Global Jurist, ISSN (Online) 1934-2640, ISSN (Print) 2194-5675, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/gj-2014-0006. Export Citation

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