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European Union Law Foundations


Admission requirements

  • Background in law

  • Sufficient command of English (IELTS 6.5 or higher)

Dutch students that have followed the 5 ECTS Course Inleiding Europees Recht (BAI) will not receive credits for this course due to the material overlap.


European Union law is a vast and fascinating area of law, forming an integral part of the legal systems of its Member States. Almost seventy percent of all rules and regulations in force in the EU Member States have their origin in Brussels. Although one may doubt the exact figure, it is beyond doubt that EU law continues to grow, both in terms of its importance and the range of topics covers.
Many of you will have little or no prior knowledge of EU law. The course therefore starts off as an introductory course, giving you the basics of European integration and the EU legal order. While it is not possible to cover all areas of EU law, the course aims at giving a thorough basis in the nature of the EU legal order, the EU institutional framework and the general principles of EU law.

How did it all start more than 60 years ago? How has the EU developed from a 6-member Community of Coal and Steel towards the Union of 27 we know today, covering a very broad range of areas? What is the role of the European Commission and other EU institutions? How do national and EU courts cooperate? What are the sources of EU law and how is EU law made? Why is the EU legal order unique in its kind and can individuals rely on EU law against their own state? What can individuals do to challenge EU legislation?
These are just some of the issues which will be dealt with throughout this course.
Through assignments and class discussions, students will get a practical grasp of EU law and will learn to work with the EU treaties and secondary EU legislation. Students will learn to read and analyze cases from the European Court of Justice of the European Union and study some of its most important judgments.

Course objectives

This course provides students with a thorough understanding of the EU integration process, the development of EU’s institutional framework as well as the nature, source and application of EU law. Students will obtain a clear understanding of the various legal remedies for the enforcement of EU law before national courts and at the EU level. They will reflect critically on landmark judgments of the Court of Justice of the EU. Throughout the course students will apply their knowledge to practical cases.

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

  • Explain the functioning of EU institutions;

  • Understand the special nature of EU law and its unique characteristics;

  • Identify different remedies in the EU legal order and explain how individuals can rely on or challenge EU law and also how the institutions can enforce EU law;

  • Find, interpret and apply the different sources of EU law, including primary law, secondary law, case law, and the general principles of EU law in concrete cases.


Check MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction


  • Number of interactive (2 hour) lectures: 10
    The course is based on interactive lectures of two hours. The lecturer will discuss with students the assigned reading materials.

  • Name of the lecturer: Dr. D. Piqani •Required preparation by students: Students are expected to attend the classes. They are required to read carefully all assigned reading materials and cases before class.


Assessment method

Examination form(s)

  • Final written exam (essay questions and case studies) - 75% of the final grade;

  • Group presentations on recent issues of EU integration - 25% of the final grade.

If only a few students fail the exam at the first attempt, the retake may be an oral exam. In that case, you will be informed by the coordinator 10 days ahead of the scheduled retake date.

The group presentation is obligatory. The group presentation counts for 25% of the final grade, must be successfully completed with at least a grade of 5.5., and cannot be retaken. The grade of the group presentation is valid in the re-sit.

The final written exam counts for 75% of the final grade. The grade of the group presentation is valid in the re-sit. Should students wish to retake a passed exam, only the final written exam can be retaken.

If the course is not completed with a passing grade within the academic year, any grades obtained for the group presentation will expire by the end of the academic year.

Areas to be tested within the exam
The examination syllabus consists of the mandatory reading materials (literature, Treaties and case law) of the course and all subjects discussed in class.

Regulation retake passed exams
In this course it is possible to retake an exam that has been passed (cf. art. 4.1.8 and further of the Course and Examination Regulations). Students who have passed the exam may retake the final written assessment (test) of the course if they meet certain requirements. For more information, go to the website > ‘Law’ tab > ‘Retake a passed exam’.

Reading list

Obligatory course materials

  • S. Peers and C. Barnard, European Union Law, latest edition.

  • N. Foster, Blackstone’s EU Treaties & Legislation 2021-2022, latest edition.

Course information guide:

  • On Brightspace.


  • Details provided in the course syllabus

Recommended course materials:

  • Ch. Tobler and J. Beglinger. Essential EU Law in Charts, latest edition.


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. Darinka Piqani

  • Work address: KOG building, room B1.21

  • Telephone number: +31 (0)71 527 8503

  • Email: [


  • Institute: Public Law

  • Department: European Law

  • Room number secretary: B. 1.11

  • Opening hours: Mon-Fri 9.00-17.00

  • Telephone number secretary: 071 – 527 3596

  • Email: