Keywords: Fourth Paragraph of Article 263 TFEU; Regulatory Act; Legislative Act; Acts of General Application; Right of Natural or Legal Persons to Institute Proceedings; Effective Judicial Protection.
The Treaty of Lisbon introduced a reform of the standing of individuals to institute proceedings: the current fourth paragraph of Article 263 TFEU has also permitted natural and legal persons to bring an action for annulment 'against a regulatory act which is of direct concern to them and does not entail implementing measures'. The term 'regulatory act', however, does not fit easily with the Lisbon classification of legal acts. In this judgment the Court held that the meaning of 'regulatory act' for the purposes of the fourth paragraph of Article 263 TFEU must be understood as covering all acts of general application apart from legislative acts.
The interpretation adopted by the ECJ does therefore markedly affect the impact of Article 263(4) TFEU. It will perforce be more difficult for an individual to contend that the courts should look to the substance of a measure across the categories of legal act. This is because the very nature of the test for a legislative act is formalistic in nature: enactment by a legislative procedure.