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Structure and Functioning of the EU




Admissions requirements

Sovereignty and Statehood.


This course offers an introduction to the legal framework of the European Union, often called a legal subject sui generis, meaning that it is unique in its characteristics as compared with other regional organizations. EU law is increasingly important for national legal systems, so this course shows which legal problems may arise and which solutions have been developed.

The course explains the establishment of the EU and the development of EU law and policy since. Relevant questions include: how is the EU organized and how does it function? Which institutions exist within the EU and what is their role? What does EU law regulate and why? How does the European legal order interact with the domestic orders of its Member States? What is the position of individuals within EU law and how are their rights under EU law protected?

The weekly seminars focus on these institutional questions, helping students to critically assess the EU in its legal context. They zoom in on particular topics, such as decision making in law and in practice, judicial protection in the EU teaching, students how to apply the general rules to specific case studies. Topical issues such as the enlargement fatigue of the EU, terrorist lists and their implementation in the EU legal order, asylum issues and the economic crisis, will be discussed through group presentations.

This course may serve as a potential replacement for the course ‘Inleiding tot Europees Recht’ at Leiden Law School for LUC students registered for the Dual Degree Programme.

Course objectives

After successful completion of this course, students will have acquired the following skills:

  • Basic knowledge of EU law and policy;

  • Ability to apply this knowledge to case studies regarding the history and development of European integration; the nature and core principles of the EU legal system and the interaction with the legal systems of the Member States; the sources and forms of EU law and their applicability; the legal position of EU citizens and their protection under EU law;

  • Ability to recognize and analyse situations in which EU law is applicable and can be used to solve legal problems;

  • Ability to read and examine decisions of the Court of Justice of the EU, together with other sources of law, in order to build and support a legal argument;

  • Ability to work with and solve a case study through the assignment;

  • Ability to critically assess current topics, using knowledge about EU law and policy, so as to form a well-substantiated opinion in debates about the EU and its future.


Once available, timetables will be published here.

Mode of instruction

Weekly lectures which combine introduction to the issues by the lecturer with input and analysis by the students through group presentations.


In-class participation, showing understanding of the reading materials, 10%, weeks 1-7;
Group presentation on a topical issue, 20%, weeks 1-7, exact dates TBC;
Individual essay, 30%, starting in week 5;
Final exam, 40%, week 8.


There will be a Blackboard site available for this course. Students will be enrolled at least one week before the start of classes.

Reading list

Catherine Barnard and Steve Peers (ed.), European Union Law, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014.


This course is open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Registration is coordinated by the Curriculum Coordinator. Interested non-LUC students should contact course.administration@luc.leidenuniv.nl.


Dr. Darinka Piqani, d.piqani@law.leidenuniv.nl.


Preparation for first class is needed, information on the course and reading materials will be made available on time before the first class.