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EU Institutional Law & General Principles of EU Law


Admission requirements

LL.B. or equivalent undergraduate degree or admission to the LL.M. Programme (European Law).


This course aims to provide students with a thorough knowledge of the European Union’s legal system. It will look at the foundations of European law from two different angles. The first is that of a practitioner who needs to know his way around the European institutions and how to use European law. The second is more theoretical, inquiring into the constitutional nature of the Union and its claims to legitimacy and democracy.

The Course is given in the form of ten lectures and ten seminars. The lectures provide an overview and analysis of the main points. The seminars are then given in smaller groups, and conducted on the basis of questions which have been studied and answered by students beforehand.

Course objectives

Objectives of the course
This course is aimed at providing students with the foundations of EU law. This will include:

  • Being able to find, interpret and apply the different sources of EU law, including primary law, secondary law, case law, and the general principles of EU law.

  • Understanding basic doctrines of EU law such as direct effect, supremacy, effectiveness, fundamental rights, loyal cooperation and respect for constitutional identity, and being able to apply these doctrines in concrete cases.

  • Understanding the mechanisms in EU law for judicial review and enforcement, as well as their interconnection with national systems..

  • Knowledge of the institutional architecture of the EU, including the horizontal relationship between the institutions and the vertical relationship between the EU and its Member States

Achievement levels
The following achievement levels apply with regard to the course:

  • Understanding of the foundations of EU law, enabling successful completion of remaining courses in the LL.M. Programme

  • Carry out research in the areas of EU law covered.

  • Solve practical cases in the areas of EU law covered.

  • Reflect critically on the European integration process.


The timetable of this course can be found in uSis.

Mode of instruction


  • Number of (2 hour) lectures: 10

  • Names of lecturers: Dr. J.J. Rijpma, Dr. A.Cuyvers and others t.b.a. Dr. J.J. Rijpma, Dr. A.Cuyvers and others t.b.a.

  • Required preparation by students: Seminars

  • Number of (2 hour) seminars: 10

  • Names of instructors: t.b.a.

  • Required preparation by students:

Assessment method

Examination form(s)

  • A ‘zero check’ entry exam (status ‘practical assigment’): this does not count towards a grade, but provides an initial assessment of the student’s knowledge of EU law.

  • Midterm exam after the first 5 weeks of the course: 20% of the final grade.

  • Written exam (3 hours): 80% of the final grade
    Students who fail the exam are entitled to sit a re-examination. Depending on the number of students failing the exam, the re-sit may take the form of an oral exam.
    The 20% grade for the mid-term exam will remain valid for the re-sit. If a student has not passed the course by the end of the academic year, partial grades for the mid-term and/or final exam are no longer valid.

Submission procedures
To be announced in the course reader and/or on Blackboard.

Areas to be tested within the exam All required reading listed in the course reader (literature, case law), all topics discussed during lectures and seminars.

Submission procedures
To be announced in course book and/or on Blackboard.

Areas to be tested within the exam
All required reading listed in the course reader (literature, case law), all topics discussed during lectures and seminars.


More information on this course is offered on Blackboard.

Reading list

Obligatory course materials

Text Books:

  • Craig & De Burca, EU Law: Text,Cases and Material (Oxford University Press, 2015), sixth editionThe free online Commission booklet ‘The ABC of EU law’ by Professor Klaus-Dieter Borchardt (for Zero-Check)A reader with additional teaching materials will be made available on blackboard.

  • Treaty texts and secondary legislation: N. Foster, Blackstone’s EU Treaties & Legislation (Oxford University Press), latest edition.

  • Course reader as provided


Registration using uSis.

Contact information

  • Co-ordinator: Dr. J.J.Rijpma

  • Work address: Steenschuur 25, room number B.1.36

  • Contact information:

  • Telephone number: +31 (0)71 527 7761

  • Email: j.j.rijpma@law.leidenuniv.nl


  • Institute: Public Law

  • Department: European Law

  • Room number secretary: B.1.21

  • Opening hours: Daily, 9:00-17:00

  • Telephone number secretary: +31 (0)71 5278837

  • Email: europeesrecht@law.leidenuniv.nl




Belangstellenden die deze cursus in het kader van contractonderwijs willen volgen (met tentamen), kunnen meer informatie vinden over kosten, inschrijving, voorwaarden, etc. op de website van Juridisch PAO.