nl en

Foreign Relations Law




Admissions requirements

Constitutions and Constitutionalism
Structure and Functioning of the EU
Legal Methods Lab is recommended, but not compulsory.


Who has the power to declare war? Who decides which countries receive development aid? Which ones get sanctions; which ones arms? Who represents us at the UN? How many members of parliament are needed to ratify a new treaty; how many to block it?

These are all legal questions—with an undoubtedly politically sensitive dimension—that are answered by a body of law called Foreign Relations Law. The latter is the set legal norms that regulate a polity’s relations and interactions with the outside world. It is closely related to, but distinct from, international law. In some cases, these rules may even require non-compliance with international obligations. Foreign Relations Law includes matters such as external representation, treaty-making powers, war powers, immunities, trade sanctions, joining or leaving international organizations, as well as the role of the different branches of government regarding each of these issues.

Every country has its own foreign relations law, but also supranational and international organizations have rules on their relations with the rest of the world, albeit their ability to act independently from their respective member states varies. The course explores a select number of salient substantive issues of Foreign Relations Law using examples from different jurisdictions and utilizing both primary and secondary sources, with an emphasis on the United States and the European Union.

Course objectives

After successful completion of the course, students are able to, in terms of skills:

  • Compare different national frameworks of foreign relations law as well as those of supranational and international organizations;

  • Interpret and analyze legal texts and judgments (primary sources) in the field of foreign relations law, using scholarly literature where appropriate (secondary sources);

  • Apply legal research, writing, argumentation, and presentation skills in the framework of a case problem.

After successful completion of the course, students are able to, in terms of knowledge:

  • Explain the main issues, features, concepts, and legal principles of foreign relations law;

  • Describe the relationship and differences between international law and a polity’s foreign relations law.


Once available, timetables will be published here.

Mode of instruction

The course uses a variety of teaching methods, including lectures, student presentations, class discussion, debate, as well as an interactive, student-led moot court. Teaching materials include primary sources (legal texts and judgments), secondary readings, and a moot court case (compromis).


  • General participation (10%) (weeks 1-7)

  • Critical Debate Leadership (15%) (weeks 1-7)

  • Final essay, due in week 8 (35%) (week 8)

  • Moot court (40%) (5% for preliminary analysis; 17% for written pleadings/judgment; 18% for oral pleadings/rendition of judgment) (week 7/8)

Note: In case the course is offered in Block 4, assignments may be moved/extended by one week each.


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

Course textbook to be purchased by students:

  • Bart van Vooren and Ramses Wessel, EU External Relations Law: Text, Cases and Materials (Cambridge University Press, 2014)

Course textbooks availability to be arranged via Leiden Library:

  • Curtis Bradley and Jack Goldsmith, Foreign Relations Law: Cases and Materials, 6th edn (Wolters Kluwer, 2017)

Generally recommended readings and research resources:

  • Franck Christian and Duchenne Geneviève (eds), L’action extérieure de l’Union européenne : rôle global, dimensions matérielles, aspects juridiques, valeurs (Academia-Bruylant, 2008).

  • Paul Craig and Gráinne de Búrca, EU Law: Text, Cases and Materials (6th edn, Oxford University Press, 2015)

  • Marise Cremona (ed), Structural Principles in EU External Relational Law (Hart Publishing 2018)

  • Marise Cremona and Anne Thies (eds), The European Court of Justice and External Relations Law: Constitutional Challenges (Hart Publishing, 2014)

  • Marise Cremona and Bruno De Witte (eds), EU Foreign Relations Law: Constitutional Fundamentals (Hart Publishing, 2008)

  • Marise Cremona, Joris Larik, Rena Lee, David Kleimann and Pascal Vennesson, ASEAN’s External Agreements: Law, Practice and the Quest for Collective Action (Cambridge University Press, 2015)

  • Louis Henkin, Foreign Affairs and the US Constitution, 2nd edn (Clarendon Press, 1996)

  • Hermann-Josef Blanke and Stelio Mangiameli (eds), The Treaty on European Union (TEU): A Commentary (Springer, 2013)

  • Piet Eeckhout, EU External Relations Law, 2nd edn (Oxford University Press, 2012)

  • Thomas Franck et al., Foreign Relations and National Security Law: Cases, Materials and Simulations, 4th edn (West Academic Publishing, 2011)

  • Panos Koutrakos, EU International Relations Law, 2nd edn (Hart Publishing, 2015)

  • Joris Larik, Foreign Policy Objectives in European Constitutional Law (Oxford University Press, 2016)

  • Campbell McLachlan, Foreign Relations Law (Oxford University Press, 2016)

  • Eleftheria Neframi, L’action extérieure de l‘Union européenne: fondements, moyens, principes (L.G.D.J., 2010)

  • Robert Schütze, Foreign Affairs and the EU Constitution: Selected Essays (Cambridge University Press, 2014)

  • Bart Van Vooren, Steven Blockmans and Jan Wouters (eds), The EU’s Role in Global Governance: The Legal Dimension (Oxford University Press, 2013)

  • Andreas van Arnault (ed), Europäische Außenbeziehungen (Nomos, 2014)

  • John Yoo, The Powers of War and Peace: The Constitution and Foreign Affairs after 9/11 (University of Chicago Press, 2005)


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


Dr. Joris Larik


No exceptions will be made regarding the required courses in order to enroll in Foreign Relations Law.