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Comparative Legal and Economic Integration




Admission requirements

  • Classes of 2013-2016: Principles of Public International Law; Structure and Functioning of the EU and/or International Dispute Settlement are recommended.

Course description

This course is dedicated to the study of economic integration taking place around the world. Having adopted a comparative approach, this course will focus on regional economic integration initiatives and on comparing and analysing their main features from a predominantly legal standpoint. This course will pay close attention to trade and investment integration.

The course will start off with a general definition of economic integration and by providing a short historical overview, along with criteria used in measuring economic integration and a typology of most frequent economic integration initiatives. This introduction will be followed by a basic introduction to GATT/WTO law before switching the lens onto the regional stage, starting with European Union law and notably the development of the four freedoms (goods, services, persons, and capital). The course will then move onto regional economic integration in the Americas, in the Arab world / Middle East, in Asia and in Africa.

This course aims at comparing each economic integration area / organization by highlighting their commonalities and specificities. In doing so, this course will analyse a common set of topics (e.g., trade in goods & services and related issues such as quotas and tariffs, investment disciplines and scope of protections, dispute settlement mechanisms) and then situate each organization / area along a spectrum of economic integration.

Learning objectives

Students will acquire knowledge and analytical tools regarding international economic law and related economic integration initiatives and organisations. Students will understand how international law is used to pursue economic integration and how related institutions function and operate. Students will also acquire familiarity with prevalent legal concepts under international economic law (such as national treatment and most-favoured-nation treatment, tariff and non-tariff barriers, quantitative restrictions, fair and equitable treatment, protection against uncompensated expropriation, etc.) and will also grow comfortable with the wording and overall structure of treaties. In the process, students will get a clearer picture of the driving forces behind globalisation.

Mode of instruction

The course will adopt a lecture format while actively encouraging student participation. Students will be asked to elaborate a group presentation before the class (see assessment method below) and will also benefit from a number of guest speakers who will deliver lectures based on their personal experience and insights pertaining to legal and economic integration.

Students will also need to demonstrate initiative and exercise independent legal thinking abilities as they will be asked to write an essay (see assessment method below) focusing on a topic of their choosing among the topics covered in class.


In-class team presentations;Teams of two to three students; length of presentations: 10-15 minutes.
Weeks 2-7

Essay (2,500 words +/- 100 words)
Weeks 1-8

Final Exam
Week 8

Compulsory textbook

Students are required to buy the following textbook:

EU Law (Texts ,cases and Materials)
E. Berry, M.J. Homewood & B. Bogusz
OUP 2013

Additionally, the course will rely on a compilation of articles and book chapters that will be made available electronically via the course website on Blackboard.

Contact information

Course Convenor: Freya Baetens:
Course Instructor: Alexandre Genest: