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Comparative Legal and Economic Integration




Admissions requirements

Compulsory: Sovereignty and Statehood and Structure and Functioning of the EU.
Recommended: Public International Law and International Dispute Settlement.


This course is dedicated to the study of economic integration taking place around the world. Having adopted a comparative approach, this course will focus on regional economic integration initiatives and on comparing and analysing their main features from a predominantly legal standpoint. This course will pay close attention to trade and investment integration.

The course will start off with a general definition of economic integration and by providing a short historical overview, along with criteria used in measuring economic integration and a typology of most frequent economic integration initiatives. This introduction will be followed by a basic introduction to GATT/WTO law before switching the lens onto the regional stage, starting with European Union law and notably the development of the four freedoms (goods, services, persons, and capital). The course will then move onto regional economic integration in the Americas, in the Arab world / Middle East, in Asia and in Africa.

This course aims at comparing each economic integration area / organization by highlighting their commonalities and specificities. In doing so, this course will analyse a common set of topics (e.g., trade in goods & services and related issues such as quotas and tariffs, investment disciplines and scope of protections, dispute settlement mechanisms) and then situate each organization / area along a spectrum of economic integration.

Course objectives

After successful completion of this course, students will be able to evaluate international economic law and related economic integration initiatives and organisations. Students will review how international law is used to pursue economic integration and how related institutions function and operate. Students will also critically reflect upon prevalent legal concepts under international economic law (such as national treatment and most-favoured-nation treatment, tariff and non-tariff barriers, quantitative restrictions, fair and equitable treatment, protection against uncompensated expropriation, etc.) and will be able to analyse the wording and overall structure of treaties. In the process, students will get a clearer picture of the driving forces behind globalisation.


Once available, timetables will be published here.

Mode of instruction

The course will adopt a lecture format while actively encouraging student participation, as well as incorporate educational excursions and guest lectures from practitioners in relevant fields.

Students should prepare by reading assigned materials for each class, which will be examined by brief in-class tests at the start of each class. Active knowledge is required of the topics covered in mandatory prerequisite courses (which will be tested in the first class).

The topics seen in class need to be well understood as they will form the basis of the final exam which will consist of the application of theoretical knowledge to a practical case study.

Students will need to demonstrate initiative and exercise independent legal thinking abilities as they will be asked to write a policy brief focusing on a topic of their choosing among the topics related to legal and economic integration. In writing this brief, students will also develop their synthesizing and team-working skills.


Weekly assessments, 40%, weeks 1-7;
Policy brief, 20%, weeks 1-7;
Final exam, 40%, week 8.

Every day late (i.e. between 1 and 24 hours) for handing in assignments will result in a deduction of a full letter grade of your mark (e.g. A+ (on time) to B+ (1 day late) to C+ (2 days late) to D+ (3 days late) etc.

Students must complete all assignments and exams. Unless there are extenuating circumstances which have been accepted as such by the course convenor in advance of the deadline of the assignment, not finishing an assessment component will automatically result in an F in the entire course.


There will be a Blackboard site available for this course. Students will be enrolled at least one week before the start of classes.

Reading list

Students are required to buy the following textbook:

European Union Law
Edited by Catherine Barnard and Steve Peers
ISBN number: 978-0-19-968611-7
Publication date: 29 May 2014
Publisher: OUP

Additional articles and other readings will be made available electronically via the course website on Blackboard.


This course is open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Registration is coordinated by the Curriculum Coordinator. Interested non-LUC students should contact


Dr. F. Baetens,


Readings will need to be completed prior to the first session and will be indicated in the course syllabus which will be circulated prior to the first session.

Active knowledge is required of the topics covered in mandatory prerequisite courses (which will be tested in the first class).