Law and Institutions of the European Union

This information is for the 2017/18 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Michael Wilkinson and Dr Veerle Heyvaert

Additional Teachers: Orla Lynskey


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. It is also a system that has become, in recent years, a source of continual political conflict: both over the content of its measures and the presence of its involvement in many spheres of activity. Discussions on the democratic nature of the EU, its stance of the protection of fundamental rights, and the relationship between the welfare state and EU law, for example, will all be covered in this course.


This course covers three aspects of EU law. First, it covers the institutional and constitutional structure of the European Union. Second, it looks at the central policies of the European Union, notably the rights to free movement for goods, services, workers, and Union citizens. Third, it looks at some of the most topical policy areas in which EU law plays an increasingly important role: the area of freedom, security and justice (and in particular the Common European Asylum System),EU social policy, and the euro area crisis.

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 the role of national parliaments

(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


20 hours of lectures and 9 hours of classes in the MT. 20 hours of lectures and 10 hours of classes in the LT. 2 hours of lectures and 1 hour of classes in the ST.

Week 6 MT and week 6 LT will be reading weeks. Essays will be set around reading week to allow students to dedicate time to writing skills.

Formative coursework

A minimum of two pieces will have to be submitted: an essay in MT and a mock exam in LT. One additional optional essay will be set in LT.

Indicative reading

The core text for this course is Chalmers et. al., EU Law (3rd edn, CUP 2014). An alternative textbook that is useful to consult is Craig & De Burca, EU Law (6th edn, OUP 2015) or Barnard & Peers, European Union Law (OUP 2014). In addition, the course uses a broad range of on-line reading material. Students are expected to retrieve these materials on Moodle and print these materials themselves: there is no course pack. Students are not required to purchase a statute book, and the statute book will not be allowed in examination (contrary to the policy in the past years).


Exam (100%, duration: 3 hours, reading time: 15 minutes) 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.

Key facts

Department: Law

Total students 2016/17: 183

Average class size 2016/17: 14

Capped 2016/17: Yes (185)

Lecture capture used 2016/17: Yes (MT & LT)

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

PDAM skills

  • Communication
  • Specialist skills