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Structure and Functioning of the EU




Admission Requirements



This course offers an introduction to the structure and functioning of the European Union, often called a legal subject sui generis, meaning that it is unique in its characteristics as compared with other regional organizations. EU law is increasingly important for national legal systems, so this course shows how which legal problems may arise and which solutions have been developed.

The course explains the establishment of the EU and the development of EU law and policy since. Relevant questions include: how is the EU organized and how does it function? Which institutions exist within the EU and what is their role? What does EU law regulate and why? How does the European legal order interact with the domestic orders of its Member States? What is the position of individuals within EU law and how are their rights under EU law protected?

The weekly lectures focus on the institutional questions, helping students to critically assess the EU in its legal context. The weekly workshops zoom in on particular topics, such as the crisis in the Eurozone, teaching students how to apply the general rules to specific case studies.

This course may serve as a potential replacement for the course ‘Inleiding tot Europees Recht’ at Leiden Law School.

Course Objectives

After successful completion of this course, students will have acquired the following skills:

  • Basic knowledge of EU law and policy

  • Ability to apply this knowledge to case studies regarding the history and development of European integration; the nature and core principles of the EU legal system and the interactions with the legal systems of the Member States; the sources of EU law and their applicability; the legal position of EU citizens and their protection under EU law; human rights as incorporated in the European Convention on Human Rights

  • Ability to recognize and analyse situations in which EU law is applicable and can be used to solve legal problems

  • Ability to read and examine decisions of the Court of Justice of the EU and the European Court of Human Rights, together with other sources of law, in order to build and support a legal argument

  • Ability to critically assess current topics, using knowledge about EU law and policy, so as to form a well-substantiated opinion in debates about the EU and its future

Mode of Instruction

Weekly lectures and workshops


To be confirmed in course syllabus:

In-class participation: 10%
Writing a case note on a CJEU or ECHR decision (1000 words): 20%
Presenting said case note in class & leading class discussion: 20%
In-class exam (1000 words): 20%
Final research essay (2000 words): 30%



Contact Information


Weekly Overview


Preparation for first session