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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).


This course aims to provide both a solid introduction to the law of EU institutions as well as to provide a deeper and richer understanding of their nature, functioning and evolution into a governmental system. To this end the course deals with the main legal and doctrinal questions in the field and builds a coherent understanding of the Union as a system of government. The course consists of two parts. Part I concerns EU law in legal practice. It discusses how EU law can be used by individual actors to achieve their aims, and the legal system that has developed around these uses over time. Jointly the classes in part I therefore provide an overview of the instruments of EU law, their logic and their potential for practitioners. Part II then switches to a public and constitutional perspective on the EU. Starting from the multiple public actors involved, not in the last place being EU and Member State institutions, the emerging realities of European integration are analyzed and clarified.

The Course is given in the form of ten lectures and ten seminars. The lectures provide an overview and analysis of the main points. The seminars are then given in smaller groups to actively engage with a selection of the materials discussed in the lectures.

Course objectives

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

  • Understanding and being able to formulate a reasoned opinion on the nature of the EU legal order and the role of law in the evolution of this order.

  • Being 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.

  • Understanding basic doctrines of EU law such as direct effect, supremacy, effectiveness, fundamental rights, loyal cooperation and respect for constitutional identity, and being able to apply these doctrines in concrete cases.

  • Understanding the mechanisms in EU law for judicial review and enforcement, as well as their interconnection with national systems, being able to apply these rules in a concrete case, and to formulate a reasoned opinion on the existing system.

  • Knowledge of the institutional architecture of the EU

  • Understanding the horizontal relationship between the institutions

  • Understanding the vertical relationship between the EU and its Member States

  • Understanding the law and policy making processes in the EU

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.


The timetable of this course can be found in uSis.

Mode of instruction


  • Number of (2 hour) lectures: 10

  • Names of lecturers: Prof.W. T. Eijsbouts and mr. A. Cuyvers Mjur (Oxon)

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


  • Number of (2 hour) seminars: 10

  • Names of instructors: tbc

  • Required preparation by students: Students are expected to have done the required reading in advance and to have prepared the exercises in the course book.

Other methods of instruction

  • Description: RIO trip

  • A visit to the European Institutions in Strasbourg, Luxemburg and Brussels (non-compulsory) in week 42

  • Names of instructors: notapplicable

  • Required preparation by students: to be published on Blackboard

Assessment method

Examination form(s)

  • One zero check entry exam: this does not count towards a grade, but provides an initial assessment of ones knowledge of EU law.

  • Midterm exam concluding first part of the course, 40% of the final grade. A pass is required to take final exam.

  • Written exam (3 hours) –60% of the final grade

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 on Blackboard.

Reading list

Obligatory course materials

Text Books:
Craig & De Burca EU Law (post Lisbon edition)
The free online Commission booklet ‘The ABC of EU law’ by Professor Klaus-Dieter Borchardt.

Treaty texts and secondary legislation:
N. Foster, Blackstone’s EU Treaties & Legislation, latest edition.

Reader as provided


Registration using uSis.

Contact information

  • Co-ordinator: Prof.Dr. W.T. Eijsbouts

  • Work address: Steenschuur 25, room number B.1.37

  • Contact information:

  • Telephone number: +31 (0)71 527 7392

  • Email:


  • Institute: Public Law

  • Department: European Law

  • Room number secretary: B.1.21

  • Opening hours: Daily, 9:00-17:00

  • Telephone number secretary: +31 (0)71 5278837

  • 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.