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Routledge Handbook of Constitutional Law by Cheryl Saunders, Thomas Fleiner, Mark Tushnet

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14Horizontal effect/state action

Colm O’Cinneide and Manfred Stelzer

14.1 Introduction

The legal doctrines of ‘horizontal effect’ and ‘state action’ are both concerned with the issue of whether constitutional rights may play a part in regulating relationships between private actors. Constitutional rights are described as having ‘horizontal effect’ when they can be applied by courts in moulding the private law norms that govern ‘horizontal’ relationships among private individuals, corporate bodies, and other non-state legal entities. In contrast, in certain legal systems, rights have limited or no horizontal effect and only regulate the ‘vertical’ relationship between the individual and the state. In such a situation, individuals will be protected ...

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