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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. At the same time, the EU represents a fascinating case study of regional integration especially in the light of recent challenges that it is facing such as the government debt crisis, the refugee crisis and Brexit.
This course guides students through the establishment of the EU and development of EU law and policy since then. Relevant questions include: how is the EU organized and how does it function? Which institutions exist within the EU and what is their role? How do they react to recent challenges of European integration? 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. The course will give students a platform for discussing the recent developments within the European Union.
This course may serve as a potential replacement for the course ‘Inleiding tot Europees Recht’ at Leiden Law School.

Course objectives


  • Ability to apply the acquired knowledge to case studies

  • 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

Basic knowledge of EU law and policy especially focusing on the constitutional development of the EU, its institutions, division of competences and decision making, characteristics of EU law (direct effect, primacy), remedies for individuals, enforcement mechanisms of EU law, recent challenges to the EU.


Once available, timetables will be published in the e-Prospectus.

Mode of instruction

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


Individual task. Short questions distributed at the beginning of class. Answers must reflect knowledge from preceding class; 20%, ongoing

Individual essay (week 3, TBC): 20%

Individual written assignment (students work on a case study/problem question; week 5, TBC): 20%

Final exam (week 8): 40%


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, second edition, 2017.


This course is open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Registration is coordinated by the Education Coordinator. Interested non-LUC students should contact


Dr. Darinka Piqani


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