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Security and the Rule of Law

Vak 2014-2015


Security and crisis management without the rule of law puts democratically ruled states at risk. This because social control, including the legitimate monopoly over the use of force, requires proper checks and balances. Yet what constitutes the legal framework for governing security? What are the different roles and responsibilities of institutions that enforce the law, provide for security, ensure safety or tackle crisis in a democratic society? And, have (inter)national approaches to security governance significantly changed over the last decade? Practises such as targeted governance, anticipatory justice and risk management increasingly affect how state accountability and human rights compliance is ensured?

This course familiarises students with the rule of law framework. From a political and legal-sociological perspective it addresses how political and legal institutions should govern security, guarantee safety or handle crises, while simultaneously protecting the rule of law in a democratic society. As an introduction, the students learn about basic concepts and theory used in mainstream legal and security governance literature. Such lines of thought are then expanded to cover the functioning of the rule of law in the field of security and crisis management. Key theoretical topics include the concept of law and legal systems, the organization of law, law making, social control and dispute resolution. Students apply the acquired theoretical knowledge to case studies about security governance dilemmas including the distinct roles of law enforcement – and intelligence agencies, incident- and risk management, the development of the information government (i-government) versus the surveillance society and the impact of security measures on minority communities.

Learning objectives

• To provide students with skills which help them to analyse the complex and ever-changing relationship between the rule of law and security.

• To provide students with theoretical notions and practical examples in order to better understand the essence of the rule of law and security.

• To present and critique various theoretical approaches to understand the factors that contributes to this ever-changing relationship between the rule of law and security.



Methods of instruction This course consists of lectures

Study load – total study load 140 hrs., of which: – contact hours: 21 – self-study hours: 119

Method of assessment

• Quality of participation during classes and Moot Court Assignment. Equals 20% of total grade.
• Written exam. Equals 80% of total grade.

The resit takes the same form


Yes; BB will become available two weeks before the course starts

Other course materials/literature

To be announced


Registration for every course and exam in USIS is mandatory. For courses, registration is possible from four weeks up to three days before the start of the course.
For exams, registration is possible from four weeks up to ten days before the date of the examination.


Liesbeth van der Heide