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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 EU forms a legal order sui generis, uniting 27 Member States. EU law is becoming increasingly important, affecting the work of businesses, governments, as well as the lives of the 500 million EU citizens on a daily basis. In one way or the other 70% of national rules and regulations find their origin in Brussels.

This course will provide students with the foundations of EU law. How are laws adopted in the EU? What are the powers of the European Institutions? What is the effect of EU law in the Member States. How does the EU system of legal protection function? Which are the sources of EU law? These are just a few questions which will be examined in this course. Much attention will be paid to the innovations brought about by the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty.

The final part of this course will focus on one particular source of EU law, namely the general principles. These principles were introduced in the case law of the European Court of Justice already in the 1960s. They are principles of law which were not laid down in the fouding treaties but which the Court ruled are inherent to any legal system. One could think of proportionality, protection of legitimate expectations and fundamental rights.

Course objectives

Objectives of the course
This course is aimed at providing students with the foundations of EU law. This will include:

  • Knowledge of the institutional architecture of the EU

  • Horizontal relationship between the institutions

  • Vertical relationship between the EU and its Member States

  • Law and policymaking processes

  • Judicial review and enforcement mechanisms

  • Nature of the EU legal order

  • Sources of EU law, in particular the general principles of EU law.

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

  • Understanding of the foundations of EU law, enabling successful attendance of remaining courses in the LL.M. Programme

  • Carry out research in the areas of EU law covered.

  • Solve practical cases in the areas of EU law covered.


Mode of instruction


  • Number of (2 hour) lectures: 10

  • Names of lecturers: Dr. K. Heede, Dr. J.J. Rijpma. Mr. A. Cuyvers (Oxon), Prof. Dr. R.A. Lawson

  • Required preparation by students: Students are expected to have done the required reading in advance.


  • Number of (2 hour) seminars: 10

  • Names of instructors: Dr. K. Heede, Dr. J.J. Rijpma. Mr. A. Cuyvers (Oxon), Prof. Dr. R.A. Lawson * * * Required preparation by students: Students are expected to have done the required reading in advance and to have prepared the excercises in the course book. In addition students will be required to hold presentations.

Other methods of instruction

  • Description: RIO trip

  • Number of (2 hour) instructions: a visit to the European Institutions in Strasbourg, Luxemburg and Brussels (non-compulsory) in week 42

  • Names of instructors: not applicable

  • Required preparation by students: to be published on Blackboard

Assessment method

Examination form(s)

  • Paper (3.000 words excl. footnotes) – worth 30% of the final result

  • Written exam (3 hours) – worth 70% of the final result

Submission procedures
To be announced in course book and/or on Blackboard.

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.


More information on this course is offered in “Blackboard”:

Reading list

Obligatory course materials

  • D. Chalmers et. al., European Union Law: text and materials, Cambridge University Press (2010), latest edition including the Lisbon Treaty.

  • Blackstone’s EU Treaties and Legislation 2010-2011 or equivalent collection of EU treaties and legislation

Course information guide:

  • Course Information Guide, which will contain exercises and assignments.


  • Reader Case Law & Secondary Literature.

Recommended course materials
Announced in Course Book, where possible made available on Blackboard.


Registration using uSis.

Contact information

  • Co-ordinator: Dr. K. Heede

  • Work address: Steenschuur 25, room number B108

  • Contact information:

  • Telephone number: +31 (0)71 527 7760

  • Email:


  • Institute: Public Law

  • Department: European Law

  • Room number secretary: Drs. F.P. Oldenhof

  • Opening hours: Daily, 9:00-17:00

  • Telephone number secretary: +31 (0)71 5277760

  • Email:



Belangstellenden die deze cursus in het kader van contractonderwijs willen volgen (met tentamen), kunnen meer informatie vinden over kosten, inschrijving, voorwaarden, etc. op de website van Juridisch PAO.