Law and Institutions of the European Union

This information is for the 2013/14 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Damian Chalmers NAB5.07

Additional Teachers: Dr Jacco Bomhoff, Dr Veerle Heyvaert, Dr Jan Komarek, Dr Jo Murkens, Dr Michael Wilkinson.


This course is compulsory on the BA in Anthropology and Law. This course is available on the BSc in Management and LLB in Laws. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit and to General Course students.

Course content

The course is an introduction to European Union Law. The course considers a legal and political system which has become the most formidable system of transnational government in modern times. Comprising over 10,500 laws and 17,000 judgments at the end of 2011, it affects significant parts of social and economic life both within the European Union and beyond, and has been looked at as a model across many parts of the world. It is a system which has been constantly in flux and, in recent years, a source of continual conflict: conflict both over the content of its measures and the presence of its involvement in many spheres of activity. The course covers both the institutional and constitutional structure of the European Union. It then looks at the central policies of the European Union, notably the single market, the area of freedom, security and justice, and EU social policy as well as those fields which have generated most conflict, most notably the euro area crisis. Finally, it considers not simply how the Union binds those living within it but how it would affect those who would leave it.

Topics will be taken from:

(1) Evolution of the European Union
(2) Institutions and Law-Making of the European Union
(3) Sovereignty and EU Law
(4) The Authority of EU Law Outside the EU
(5) Subsidiarity and when the EU Should Act
(6) Policing of National Observance of EU Law
(7) Judicial application of Union law within the Member States (e.g. Direct effect, indirect effect, state liability) and relations between the Court of Justice and National Courts
(8) Fundamental Rights
(9) The euro area crisis
(10) Free Movement of Goods
(11) Free Movement of Persons and European Citizenship

(12) Free Movement of Services and Establishment
(13) The Area of Freedom, Security and Justice and the European Arrest Warrant
(14) EU Social Policy and Anti-Discrimination Law
(15) The Single Market


20 hours of lectures and 9 hours of classes in the MT. 20 hours of lectures and 10 hours of classes in the LT. 4 hours of lectures and 2 hours of classes in the ST.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 2 essays in the MT and LT.

This may include a mock exam and a moot court exercise.

Indicative reading

The core text for this course is Chalmers et. al., EU Law (2nd edn, CUP 2010). An alternative textbook that is useful to consult is Craig & De Burca, EU Law (5th edn, 2011); other useful sources include Kaczorowska EU Law (2nd edn, 2010); Weiler, The Constitution of Europe (1999); Hix, What's Wrong with the European Union and How to Fix It? (2008); Ward, A Critical Introduction to European Law (2009); C Barnard, The Substantive Law of the EU (3rd edn, 2010). In addition, the course uses a broad range of on-line reading material. Students are expected to retrieve and print these materials themselves: there is no course pack. The recommended statute book is Blackstone's EU Treaties and Legislation (OUP).


Exam (100%, duration: 3 hours) in the main exam period.

The examination will contain 10 questions (of which some may be 'either/or') of which four are to be answered, and at least one question must be answered from each of two sections, which represent Lent and Michelmas term work respectively.

Teachers' comment

The course is historically taught by a team of six lecturers. Following the feedback from the last years, we will be making a number of changes for 2013-2014:

- The number of lecturers will be reduced to four. We believe this will allow stronger coordination within the course.
- Classes will follow lectures. We experimented with the opposite in 2012/13. Following student feedback, we will revert to the original sequence.
- New topics will be added to ensure the topicality of the course. These will include weeks on age discrimination, European arrest warrant, UK exit from the EU and the euro crisis.
- Reading has been revised to prune that which was least popular with students.
- Summaries of the relationship between the content of the lectures and the classes will be added on LFY to make the relationship clearer.

This course is a ‘survival kit’ (of theories and concepts) for understanding and thinking critically about media and communications.

Key facts

Department: Law

Total students 2012/13: 165

Average class size 2012/13: 15

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

PDAM skills

  • Communication
  • Specialist skills

Course survey results

(2010/11 - 2012/13 combined)

1 = "best" score, 5 = "worst" score

The scores below are average responses.

Response rate: 72.3%



Reading list (Q2.1)


Materials (Q2.3)


Course satisfied (Q2.4)


Lectures (Q2.5)


Integration (Q2.6)


Contact (Q2.7)


Feedback (Q2.8)


Recommend (Q2.9)