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ILS – Global law: legal reasoning in International, EU and national law


Admission requirements

Admission to the Masters programme (see the Course and Examination Regulations). This course is only available for the Dutch students, not for the international students enrolled in both programmes.


This course considers aspects of the interaction between international, European Union, and domestic law. In examining these different areas of law, and the interaction between them, an emphasis is placed on legal reasoning. Legal reasoning is a basic legal skill, and there are important differences and similarities in legal reasoning across the different areas of international law, European law, and national law. This course also fulfils a practical need, as we know that students struggle in the beginning of the masters when dealing with often long and complex judgments from a different legal tradition than the one they are used to.

Course objectives

Objectives of the course
The course will contribute to the research skills of students via the weekly assignments and the final paper which will require them to formulate a research question on a chosen topic. In addition, the materials and topics will be presented in a research-oriented style, i.e. critically approaching and reflecting on different forms and uses of legal reasoning.
The course runs over five weeks with different topics introduced each week. In particular, the course centres around the close reading of one seminal case of a different legal order each week. Judgments or advisory opinions are selected from, for example, the International Court of Justice, the European Court of Human Rights and the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Across a number of lectures and through material that will be provided online on a weekly basis, students will first be informed about the context and the background surrounding a particular case, including the different challenges/tensions/interests/views involved, and therefore the choices and dilemmas facing the judges. Subsequently, in the working groups, the judgment and its consequences will be discussed. Students will first look at the general structural features of the different case law (for example which sections are legally most relevant). Subsequently, students will close read the case, or part of the case, and discuss the different forms of legal reasoning used, also comparing it to the other weeks. Particular attention will be payed to alternative outcomes. One option for the research paper, for example, might be to suggest an alternative outcome based on different methods / applications of legal reasoning.

Achievement levels
The following achievement levels apply with regard to the course:

  • The student is able to illustrate the differences in legal reasoning from the national / international / European law perspective and the interaction between these three;

  • The student is able to formulate a legal research question;

  • The student is able to write a good legal research plan;

  • The student is able to write good legal argumentation;

  • The student is able to form an opinion and/or choose a well-motivated position and express a point of view empowered by arguments;

  • The student has developed a self-reflective attitude towards his/her learning outcomes.


The timetable of this course can be found in uSis.

Mode of instruction


  • Names of instructors: Dr. Melanie Fink and Dr. Ginevra Le Moli

  • Required preparation by students: to be announced

  • Online material will be provided on a weekly basis


  • Names of instructors: Dr. Melanie Fink and Dr. Ginevra Le Moli

  • Required preparation by students: readings to be announced via Brightspace. Each week there will be a short assignment that students must prepare before attending the seminars. These short assignments will require the students to develop a research question using a pre-determined format and build upon this question throughout the course. A general feedback on these assignments will be given every week via Brightspace.

  • Working groups will be both online and, depending on the situation, on-campus.

Assessment method

Examination form(s)

  • Practical assignment: completing the weekly assignments (see the required preparation for the seminars) and following the related feedback process is mandatory to participate in the written assignment.

  • Written assignment: 100% of the final grade.
    Students who received a fail mark are entitled to retake the written assignment. Admission to the retake is dependent on the student having submitted a first attempt of the written assignment by the original deadline.

If a student has not passed the course by the end of the academic year, a pass for the practical assignment is no longer valid.

Submission procedures
Paper: via Brightspace

Areas to be tested within the exam
The examination syllabus consists of the required reading (literature) for the course, the course information guide and the subjects taught in the lectures, the seminars and all other instructions which are part of the course.

Reading list

The digital sources of the obligatory literature will be posted on Brightspace. Students are expected to collect the literature themselves.


Students have to register for the lectures and working groups through uSis. With this registration you have access to the digital learning environment of this course in Brightspace. You may register up to 5 calendar days before the first teaching session begins.

Students have to register for exams and retakes through uSis. With this registration you also have access to the digital learning environment of this course in Brightspace You may register up to 10 calendar days before the exam or retake.

Contact information

  • Co-ordinator: Dr. Ginevra Le Moli

  • Work address: Kamerlingh Onnes Building, Steenschuur 25, 2311 ES Leiden

  • Contact information: Room number C1.14

  • Telephone number: +31 (0)71 527 8401

  • E-mail: