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Justice and Home Affairs


N.B. Course descriptions are subject to change

Admission requirements

Admission to the MA International Relations, track European Union Studies, or the European Politics and Society Joint Master Programme.


This course aims at analysing EU policies in the field of “Justice and Home Affairs”, which is the EU’s label for policies concerning asylum and migration from third countries, border control, prevention and persecution of terrorism and organised crime, joint initiatives in criminal law (such as the European Arrest Warrant) and the protection of fundamental rights.
The course will introduce participants to key challenges in this field: How to fight transnational crime in the absence of internal borders, how to integrate various national criminal justice systems without sacrificing individual fundamental rights, and of course how to jointly manage external borders while guaranteeing the right to asylum.
The functional pressure to act jointly to meet those challenges are large, but member state governments are much more reluctant to delegate responsibilities to the EU in this policy fields than they are in others. We will talk about what competences the EU has in this field, how the EU justice system integrates with national systems to guarantee individual rights, and what blind spots arise between national and EU competences.
Since this area touches closely on fundamental rights, we will discuss how rights work in practice: What is their role in mobilising citizens, who can claim them, and how do rights protect the most vulnerable among us?

Course objectives

Upon successful completion of the course, participants will have the necessary tools to take informed positions in academic and policy-oriented debates about this controversial policy area. They will be able to research sources of law (primary and secondary law, and their judicial interpretation) interpret their meaning, and identify the underlying social and political conflicts. Participants will understand how fundamental rights gain meaning in practice and how legal research overlaps and interacts with political and social research. They will be able to devise a legal strategy and to present legal arguments.


The timetables are available through MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction


Assessment method


The course and all its learning objectives will be assessed in two ways:

  • Group assignment: moot court. We will simulate a court case involving a question of fundamental rights in the EU. Groups of 3-5 students will jointly take the position of one of the actors involved (the plaintiff, member states governments, the Commission, and other EU institutions). They will jointly author a legal brief of about 3000 words and present their position in the simulation.

  • Final Exam: Written examination with short open questions and (up to) 50% multiple choice questions.


The final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average of the group assignments (legal brief = 40 %, moot court presentation = 20%) and the final exam (40%).


Any course participant who has not passed the group assignment and final exam is eligible for a resit. The resit will consist of a legal brief and a written examination with short open questions and (up to) 50% multiple choice questions.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

A reading list will be announced before the start of the course.


Enrolment through MyStudyMap is mandatory.
General information about course and exam enrolment is available on the website.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Huizinga