Not available in 2020/21
LL4BH      Half Unit
Law and Government of the European Union

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Floris De Witte


This course is available on the LLM (extended part-time), LLM (full-time), MSc in European and International Public Policy, MSc in European and International Public Policy (LSE and Bocconi), MSc in European and International Public Policy (LSE and Sciences Po) and University of Pennsylvania Law School LLM Visiting Students. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

This course is capped at 30 students. Students must apply through Graduate Course Choice on LSEforYou.

For the LLM (Specialisms: European Law, Public Law, Human Rights Law)


Basic knowledge (at an undergraduate level) of EU law is required. 

Course content

How is the European Union governed? This course will discuss this question in both a descriptive and a normative fashion. In descriptive terms, the course looks at the way in which the EU institutions are structured, how they function internally, and the powers that they have. It looks at the power of the European Court of Justice, at the role of fundamental rights, and the way in which the Treaty can be amended. This descriptive discussion forms the backdrop for the (more central) normative discussion: how should Europe be governed? Is the EU democratic? Should it be? Should Member States have more or less power to challenge EU measures? What will the future of the EU look like? And what should it look like?

Students will be challenged to think about the EU as an institutional structure in which both law and politics play a cruical role. Really understanding the EU requires knowledge of both areas as well as knowledge of their interaction. At no other time in the development of the EU has the interaction between law and politics so fundamentally affected the direction of the integration process. The coming years will see fundamental changes to the EU's structure; which are informed as much by political dynamics as by legal mechanisms. This course prepares you to fully understand those changes - and allow you to analyse critically both their normative content and institutional structure.


20 hours of seminars in the MT.

Formative coursework

All students are expected to produce one 2,000 word formative essay during the course.  The formative essay serves as a basis for the assessed essay.

Indicative reading

  • G de Búrca and JHH Weiler (eds), The Worlds of European Constitutionalism (CUP 2012),
  • P Lindseth, Power and Legitimacy: Reconciling Europe and the Nation-State (OUP 2010);
  • F Scharpf, Governing in Europe (OUP 1999);
  • JHH Weiler, The Constitution of Europe : “Do the New Clothes Have an Emperor?” And Other Essays on European Integration (CUP 1999).


Essay (100%, 8000 words) in the ST.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Law

Total students 2019/20: 26

Average class size 2019/20: 27

Controlled access 2019/20: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information