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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 Community [now Union] constitutes a new legal order in international law, for whose benefit the States have limited their sovereign rights. This course aims to provide students with a thorough knowledge of that legal order. It will look at the foundations of European law from two different angles. The first is that of a practitioner who needs to know his way around the European institutions and how to use European law. The second is more theoretical, inquiring into the constitutional nature of the Union.

The Course is given in the form of ten lectures and ten seminars. The lectures combine a general overview of the course material with a focus on the most complex and interesting topics. The seminars are then given in smaller groups, and conducted on the basis of questions and case studies which have been prepared by students beforehand and which require students to apply the knowledge they have acquired.

Course objectives

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

  • 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.

  • Distinguishing 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.

  • Identifying and applying the mechanisms in EU law for judicial review and enforcement in concrete cases.

  • Knowledge of the institutional architecture of the EU, including the horizontal relationship between the institutions and the vertical relationship between the EU and its Member States

  • Explaining European news and politics in relation to the EU’s constitutional legal framework

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

  • Understanding of the foundations of EU law, enabling successful completion 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.

  • Reflect critically on the European integration process.


The timetable of this course can be found in uSis.

Mode of instruction


  • Number of (2 hour) lectures: 10

  • Names of lecturers: Prof. L.J. Van Middelaar, Dr. J.J. Rijpma, Dr. A. Cuyvers* Required preparation by students: Seminars

  • Required preparation by students: Study the prescribed literature and case law in depth, in advance of the lecture


  • Number of (2 hour) seminars: 10

  • Names of instructors: Prof. L.J. Van Middelaar, Dr. J.J. Rijpma, Dr. A. Cuyvers

  • Required preparation by students: Revise the prescribed literature and case law, apply the acquired knowledge to the questions and case studies provided in the reader

Assessment method

Examination form(s)

  • A ‘zero check’ entry exam (status ‘practical assigment’): this does not count towards a grade, but provides an initial assessment of the student’s knowledge of EU law.

  • Midterm exam after the first 5 weeks of the course: 20% of the final grade.

  • Written exam (3 hours): 80% of the final grade

  • Students who fail the exam are entitled to sit a re-examination. Depending on the number of students failing the exam, the re-sit may take the form of an oral exam.

  • The 20% grade for the mid-term exam will remain valid for the re-sit. If a student has not passed the course by the end of the academic year, partial grades for the mid-term and/or final exam are no longer valid.

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

Areas to be tested within the exam All required reading listed in the course reader (literature, case law), all topics discussed during lectures and seminars.

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

Areas to be tested within the exam
All required reading listed in the course reader (literature, case law), all topics discussed during lectures and seminars.


More information on this course is offered on Blackboard.

Reading list

Obligatory course materials

  • Craig & De Burca, EU Law: Text,Cases and Material (Oxford University Press, 2015), sixth edition. The free online Commission booklet ‘The ABC of EU law’ by Professor Klaus-Dieter Borchardt (for Zero-Check). A reader with additional teaching materials will be made available on blackboard.

  • Treaty texts and secondary legislation: N. Foster, Blackstone’s EU Treaties & Legislation (Oxford University Press), latest edition.


  • Will be provided on Blackboard


Students have to register for courses and exams through uSis.

Contact information

  • Co-ordinator: Dr. J.J.Rijpma

  • Work address: Steenschuur 25, room number B.1.35

  • Contact information:

  • Telephone number: +31 (0)71 527 7761

  • 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 5278905

  • Email: