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European Migration Law


Admission requirements

  • Students that apply for the course should be interested in studying migration from a legal perspective


Migration is a much debated topic in Europe. Nowadays migration in and to Europe is for a large part governed by European Union law. The focus in this course will be on voluntary migration, as opposed to forced migration, which is discussed in the course European Asylum Law. For Member States of the European Union, the discretion to shape their own migration policy is limited by binding provisions of EU Law and human rights law. Freedom of movement of EU citizens and their family members has since long been a primary goal of the European Union. With the entry into force of the Treaty of Amsterdam in May 1999, legislation on immigration regarding third country nationals, has also become a subject of Union competence. The concept of a right to family life and private life as laid down in the European Convention on Human Rights has influenced as well national policies as the interpretation of EU Law. In this course EU Law and international law and their interaction will be discussed. The course program is, apart from an introductory lecture, divided into three parts: 1. Free movement of persons under EU law; 2. The ECHR and immigration law; and 3. Third country nationals in EU migration law.

This course is the first course on European Migration Law. The second course, European Asylum Law, is taught in the second half of this semester. Both courses are structured in a similar way. They can be followed both or separately.

Course objectives

The aim of this course is to provide students with knowledge and insight in the relation between the various levels of international and European migration law and their impact on individuals. Students learn to apply this knowledge to a migration case.

After having completed this course students must be able:

  • To discuss and analyse orally and in writing key questions concerning free movement of EU citizens and family migration, and

  • To solve a complex individual case on the basis of EU migration law and international law. To approach the case both from the viewpoint of the migrant and the viewpoint of the State. Students are expected to write a structured legal argumentation and research independently case-law and other relevant materials and apply it to the case.


Check MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction


  • Number of (2 hour) lectures: 7

  • Names of lecturers: Mark Klaassen, Vincent Delhomme

  • Required preparation by students: reading the materials assigned in the prescribed literature and readers


  • Number of (2 hour) seminars: 3

  • Names of lecturers: Mark Klaassen, Vincent Delhomme

  • Required preparation by students: writing a paper (2x) and preparing an oral presentation based on this paper (1x)

Group work sessions

  • Number of (2 hour) sessions: 3

  • The group work sessions are intended to facilitate the group work. During the group work sessions, the different groups can work together in preparing their contribution for the seminar.

  • This course contains a practical exercise; attendance to all the lectures, seminars and group work sessions is compulsory. Non-compliance can lead to the exclusion of the student from the course. The course coordinator should be informed about missing a meeting in advance.

Assessment method

  • Writing two papers of approximately 2.000 words (80% (40% each))

  • One oral presentation (20%)

The students have to write two papers of approximately 2.000 words and give one oral presentation. For both the papers and the presentation, the students have to solve a complex case. The oral presentation is a pleading in a moot court setting. The two papers count for 40% each and the oral presentation for 20% of the final grade for the course.

Students with a final grade of 5 or lower, who have handed in all the two papers and gave the oral presentation, get the possibility two write one paper of approximately 5000 words. The topic of this paper will be decided by the instructor. The grade for this paper will replace the former grade for the course.

Reading list

Obligatory course materials

  • P. Boeles, M. Den Heijer, G. Lodder & K. Wouters, ‘European Migration Law’, 2nd edition, Intersentia, 2014.

  • Additional academic articles (on Brightspace)

  • Legal texts (on Brightspace)

  • Case Law (on Brightspace

Recommended course materials

To be announced


Registration for courses and exams takes place via MyStudymap. If you do not have access to MyStudymap (guest students), look here (under the Law-tab) for more information on the registration procedure in your situation.

Exchange students have priority and will be registered for the course first. Any remaining seats will be available for students from Leiden University and other Dutch Universities.


  • Co-ordinator: Dr. M.A.K. Klaassen

  • Work address: KOG, room C1.02

  • Contact information: Monday-Thursday

  • Telephone number: +31 (0)71 527 7420

  • Email:


  • Institute: Public Law

  • Department: European Law

  • Room number secretary: B1.11

  • Telephone number secretary: +31 (0)71 527 3596

  • Email: