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EU Institutional Law & General Principles of EU Law


Admission requirements

LL.B. or equivalent undergraduate degree or admission to the LL.M. Programme (European Law).


The European Union constitutes a new legal order of international law, for whose benefit the States have limited their sovereign rights. This course aims to provide students with a thorough knowledge of that legal order. It will look at the foundations of European law from two different angles. The first is that of a practitioner who needs to know her way around the European institutions and how to use European law in daily practice. The second is more theoretical, inquiring into the specific constitutional nature of the Union.

This year, the Course will be ‘flipped’ as part of a University pilot in flipping the classroom. This means that basic knowledge transfer will take place as much as possible via online tools such as video lectures. Classes will then be used for more direct, intensive interaction. To this end, the course will be divided in four ‘cycles’ where students are first introduced to a topic, then have a period of self-study and then several intensive interactive sessions. Each cycle will have a different form of output, ranging from a negotiation position in a legislative procedure to a legal memo in proceedings before the CJEU. Due to the COVID Pandemic, however, some design elements of the course may change depending on developments, including the feasibility of physical teaching.

Course objectives

Objectives of the course
This course is aimed at providing students with the foundations of EU law. At the end of this course students will be able to:

  • find, interpret and apply the different sources of EU law, including primary law, secondary law, case law, and the general principles of EU law in concrete cases;

  • distinguish between basic doctrines of EU law such as direct effect, supremacy, effectiveness and loyal cooperation and apply these doctrines to concrete cases;

  • identify the mechanisms in EU law for judicial review and enforcement and apply these to concrete cases;

  • explain the institutional architecture of the EU, including the horizontal relationship between the institutions and the vertical relationship between the EU and its Member States;

  • explain European news and politics in relation to the EU’s constitutional legal framework;

  • take a reasoned position in clear writing on questions of EU integration.

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

  • Carry out research;

  • Solve practical cases;

  • Construct a legal argument in writing;

  • Present in a group;

  • Collaborate in a group.


The timetable of this course can be found in uSis.

Mode of instruction


  • Video lectures

  • Lectures

  • Seminars

  • Peer-feedback sessions

  • Interactive group sessions

  • Names of instructors: Prof. Dr. L. van Middelaar, Dr. A. Cuyvers (Coordinator), Dr. V. Borger and F. Behre L.L.M..

Required preparation by students: rvise the prescribed literature and case law, apply the acquired knowledge to the questions and case studies provided for in the reader

Assessment method

Examination form(s)

The overall grade for this course consists of the combined grade for three written assignments.

  1. Your negotiation memo and draft directive in cycle 1 (group grade): 33 1/3%
  2. Your legal memo based on the case question in cycle 2 (individual grade): 33 1/3%
  3. Your essay and debate contribution in cycle 4 (individual grade): 33 1/3%

Submission procedures
To be announced in the course reader and/or on Brightspace.

Areas to be tested within the exam
All required reading listed in the course reader (literature, case law), all topics discussed during lectures and seminars.

A retake is allowed where the overall grade of the course is below a pass grade (5,5). With a retake, the grade for the group assignments will stand, but you will retake a take-home exam with one case question and one essay question that will replace the grades for cycle 2 and 3. You will have 24 hours to complete the exam and hand it in. The date for the exam will be communicated in due time.

Reading list

Obligatory course materials


  • Craig & De Burca, EU Law: Text,Cases and Material (Oxford University Press), most recent edition.

  • The free online Commission booklet ‘The ABC of EU law’ by Professor Klaus-Dieter Borchardt (for Zero-Check).

  • A reader with additional teaching materials will be made available on Brightspace.

  • Treaty texts and secondary legislation: N. Foster, Blackstone’s EU Treaties & Legislation (Oxford University Press), latest edition.


  • Will be provided on Brightspace.


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


  • Institute: Public Law

  • Department: European Law

  • Room number secretariat: B1.11

  • Opening hours: Daily, 9:00-17:00

  • Telephone number secretariat: +31 (0)71 527 3596

  • Email: