Third Party Effect of Fundamental Rights (Drittwirkung)

Hanse Law Review, Vol 5, No. 2, pp. 165-173, 2009

9 Pages Posted: 2 Oct 2009 Last revised: 28 Dec 2009

See all articles by Eric Engle

Eric Engle

Date Written: October 1, 2009


Drittwirkung (third party effect) is a legal doctrine in German law used to apply public law provisions such as fundamental rights to private law relations such as contracts. The doctrine has a complex theory and equally complex interpretations. The article proposes that third party effect of fundamental rights is best understood functionally in terms of: who has a right, against whom, and how may the right be enforced. Much of the confusion related to the competing theories and interpretations of Drittwirkung whether before the European Court of Justice (ECJ) or the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) can be thereby avoided.

Keywords: Drittwirkung, Third Party Effect, Wirtschaftsverfassung, Economic Constitution, Direct Effect, Unmittelbare Anwendbarkeit, Indirect Effect, Mittelbare Anwendbarkeit, Color of Law, State Action, Horizontale Anwendbarkeit, Horizontal effect,, Mittelbare Drittwirkung, Indirect third party effect

JEL Classification: K10, K33

Suggested Citation

Engle, Eric, Third Party Effect of Fundamental Rights (Drittwirkung) (October 1, 2009). Hanse Law Review, Vol 5, No. 2, pp. 165-173, 2009, Available at SSRN:

Eric Engle (Contact Author) ( email )

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics