Law and Institutions of the European Union

This information is for the 2019/20 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Floris De Witte and Dr Niamh Dunne


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

It is recommended that this course is taken in the second year of the LLB.

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, the relationship between the welfare state and EU law, and its very existence for example, will be covered in this course. Special attention will be given to the three major crisis that the EU is facing: the Euro-crisis, the refugee crisis, and Brexit. 

This course covers three aspects of EU law. First, it covers the institutional and constitutional structure of the European Union, including its political and judicial institutions. 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, such as the migration crisis and the euro-zone crisis. Throughout, the course references Brexit and its implications.

At the end of the course you will be able to critically and independently assess both the legal structure of the EU as well as the political and social context within which it operates. 

Topics include:


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

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

Students will be expected to produce 1 essay in the MT and 1 essay in the LT.

One additional optional essay will be set in LT.

Indicative reading

Chalmers et. al., EU Law, 3rd ed. (Cambridge: CUP, 2014). In addition, the course uses a broad range of online reading material (to be linked on Moodle).


Take home exam (50%) in the period between MT and LT.
Take home exam (50%) in the period between LT and ST.

One will take place in Week 0 of LT, one will take place in Week 0 of ST. Please take this into account when choosing outside modules that are assessed in week 0 of LT or ST.

Key facts

Department: Law

Total students 2018/19: 182

Average class size 2018/19: 12

Capped 2018/19: No

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills