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Law and Security


Admission requirements

Mandatory course for students enrolled in the bachelor’s programme Security Studies.


This course presents students with an overview of a number of key principles, insights, theories and lenses on safety and security from the field of law and legal science. Law and regulation are central themes for security and safety professionals. On the one hand, they guide practises of understanding and reducing risk – they are part and parcel of risk management processes. Law and regulation play a preventative role when it comes to addressing risk. In this respect they also have a governance and a political role to play. On the other hand, laws and regulations also come in when risks turn inadvertently into incidents: they are used in the aftermath of crisis and disasters to deal with the consequences thereof. In this course students will:

  1. Learn how to understand the roles of law in relation to security:

(a) foundational, (b) preventative, (c) coercive and (d) referee

  1. Learn to understand a general framework of different levels and bodies of law and
  • National legislation (jus gentium, law of nations): sovereignty, jurisdiction

  • International Law (jus inter gentes, international agreements): different branches: public international law (between states), private international law (conflict of laws: who has jurisdiction?), supranational law (regional agreements, international bodies)) 

  1. Learn key legal principles for dealing with risk, e.g. regulatory prudence, the precautionary principle and insurance;

  2. Learn the general framework of, and guiding principles in, key areas of safety laws & regulations;

  3. Learn about a number of guiding principles in, and key areas of legislation in relation to security, by studying examples from the domains of terrorism and counter-terrorism, criminal law, national security, and law in/of cyberspace;

  4. Learn about dilemmas in relation to law and regulation in the field of safety and security (e.g. tensions with international relations (states), privacy and freedom of expression (citizens).

Course objectives

After successful completion of this course, students will:

  • have acquired knowledge and understanding of the role of law in relation to security in our modern-day world, and the historical roots of this role;

  • have acquired knowledge of key principles, frameworks and ideas in relation to the legal landscape surrounding safety and security;

  • be able to assess the regulatory and legal aspects of approaching incidents and threats to safety and security;

  • be able to think independently, responsibly and critically and are aware of social and cultural differences and ethical dilemmas;

  • be able to identify and evaluate different legal and regulatory approaches and
    value their applicability for different safety and security challenges;

  • be able to identify and construct informed, considered and logical arguments (in oral and writtenform) about law and regulation in relation to safety and security challenges in both professional and academic settings.


On the right side of programme front page of the E-guide you will find links to the website and timetables, uSis and Blackboard.

Mode of instruction

7 plenary lectures
4 course labs in smaller groups (attendance is mandatory)

Course Load

Total study load of 140 hours

  • Contact hours: 33

  • Self-study hours: 104

  • Examination: 3

Assessment method

  • Written Assignment (equals 20% of the total grade).

  • Written exam (equals 80% of the total grade).

Only assessments with the weight of 30% and lower are compensable. This means that one does not have to pass an assessment if it weighs less than 30% in order to pass the course, if the average of all assessments combined is at least a 5.5. In addition, assignments with less than 30% are not re-sitable, meaning that if one failed an assessment of less than 30%, one is not allowed to resit it.

This implies only the written assignment (20%) can be compensated by the written exam (80%) and not vice versa. The calculated grade must be at least 5,50 in order to pass the course.

Students will be permitted to resit of the written exam if they have a grade lower than 5,5 or with permission of the Board of Examiners. The resit exam will take the same form.


Course page will be available one week in advance

Reading list

Information on readings will be announced on Blackboard


To be announced by OSC staff.


Dr. Els De Busser, Course coordinator
Mr. G.A. van der Steur