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Law and Security


Admission requirements

Mandatory course for students enrolled in the bachelor’s programme Security Studies.
Only students enrolled into the bachelor’s programme Security Studies can follow this course. This course is also open for inbound exchange students. Exchange students must be admitted by the FGGA International Office prior to the start of the course.


Security and (international) law are interlinked. Terrorism, cyberattacks, military interventions, cross border criminality - all entail a reaction by states and have the potential to redefine the relationship between government and society. In addition, new technological breakthroughs enable security measures to become more refined and commonplace, but also lead to ethical questions. The rule of law offers a framework in which citizens and government can agree on rules, so that government can play its role legitimately and predictably. The central theme in this course is the dilemma that government faces more often: the dichotomy between providing security while respecting civil, social and human rights. Since the 9/11 attacks, this tension has become even more visible in both international and domestic counterterrorism measures. Are these necessary measures that have to be taken even by democratic countries where the rule of law is maintained? What kind of consequences can these measures have on the way democratic rule of law works in principle? This tension is also visible in many other security issues, such as for example the “regular” fight against criminality. What about ethnic profiling, the right of free speech, even if this speech is inflammatory, the use of special surveillance techniques? This course will highlight these and other dilemmas, and will offer theoretical and practical insights into them. Students will become familiar with the primary tenants of the rule of law, and their link with security policies. They will be invited to think critically about the tension between security and law.

Course objectives

At the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Identify the central tension between security and law in a theoretical as well as empirical way.

  • Identify the relationship between the citizen and the state within a historical perspective, and analyse it critically. Particular attention will be given to security issues and the implications for the rule of law.

  • Produce knowledge on the basis and the functioning of European states, as different examples on the exercise of rule of law.

  • Analyse a concrete example of the dilemma between providing security and respecting human rights, providing a policy advice on this example.

  • Reflect on relevant normative and ethical issues, and on side effects and unintended consequences of the governance and management of crisis and security issues, within the framework of democracy and the rule of law.

  • Access, communicate and apply legal knowledge through in class debates and simulation, in order to develop presentation and writing skills.

  • Self-evaluate and reflect after interactive in-class work and individual assignments.


On the right side of the programme front page you will find links to the website and timetables, uSis and Brightspace.

Mode of instruction

7 plenary lectures
4 course labs in smaller groups

Attendance of the course labs is mandatory. If you miss more than 1 course lab you fail the course and won’t obtain a final grade.

Total study load of 140 hours:

  • Lectures and course labs: 33

  • Self-study hours (including assignment): 104

  • Examination: 3

Assessment method

Participation in course labs

  • 10% of final grade

  • Grade must be compensated

  • Resit not possible

Mid-Term Assignment

  • 20% of final grade

  • Grade must be compensated

  • Resit not possible.

Final exam

  • 70% of final grade

  • Grade must be 5.50 or higher

  • Resit of a fail is possible.

  • Resit will take the same form

Students will also be permitted to resit the final exam (70%) if they have a calculated overall course grade lower than 5.50.

Transitional Arrangement
Passed partial grades obtained in year 2022-2023 remain valid during year 2023-2024. Students who did not meet the course lab attendance requirements in 2022-2023 are required to attend the course labs in 2023-2024.

Please contact the study advisors in case you have any questions in regards to a failed course lab participation grade and a passed attendance requirement.

In the case of written assessment methods, the examiner can always initiate a follow-up conversation with the student to establish whether the learning objectives have been met.

Reading list

A selection of books and articles will be announced on Brightspace.


Register yourself via MyStudymap for each course, workgroup and exam (not all courses have workgroups and/or exams).
Do so on time, before the start of the course; some courses and workgroups have limited spaces. You can view your personal schedule in MyTimetable after logging in.
Registration for this course is possible from Tuesday 11 July 13.00h

Leiden University uses Brightspace as its online learning management system. After enrolment for the course in MyStudymap you will be automatically enrolled in the Brightspace environment of this course. Furthermore, announcements and modifications will be communicated via Brightspace. Students have the responsibility to stay informed and are thus advised to regularly check Brightspace for updates.

After registration for an exam you still need to confirm your attendance via MyStudymap. If you do not confirm, you will ultimately be de-registered and you will not be allowed to take the exam.

More information on registration via MyStudymap can be found on this page.

Please note: guest-/contract-/exchange students do not register via MyStudymap but via uSis. Guest-/contract-/exchange students also do not have to confirm their participation for exams via MyStudymap.


Dr. Silvia D’Amato-


For exceptions, please contact the Board of Examiners.