Law and Institutions of the European Union

This information is for the 2022/23 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Floris De Witte


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. 

It is available to second and third year LLB and BA Anthropology and Law students. It is also available as an outside option to second and third year students where regulations permit.

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, Russia's invastion of Ukaraine and Brexit. 

This course covers two 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.

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:


  • History and Theory of European Integration
  • Institutions and Law-Making  of the European Union
  • Democracy in the EU
  • Sovereignty and EU Law
  • Brexit and its consequences
  • The Withdrawal Agreement and the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement
  • Differentiated Integration and the Future of the EU
  • Application of Union law in the Member States
  • Judicial Review of EU law
  • Fundamental Rights
  • Internal Market and Free Movement
  • Refugee Crisis and the AFSJ


This course will have a minimum of two hours of teaching content each week in Michaelmas Term and Lent Term in the form of a lecture (every week) and one hour class. This course includes a reading week in Weeks 6 of Michaelmas Term and Lent Term. 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.

Further peer-marked assessment is possible through the Moodle environment.

Indicative reading

Dawson & De Witte, EU Law and Government (CUP 2022). In addition, the course uses a broad range of online reading material (to be linked on Moodle).


Take-home assessment (50%) in the period between MT and LT.
Take-home assessment (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 School

Total students 2021/22: 211

Average class size 2021/22: 14

Capped 2021/22: Yes (225)

Lecture capture used 2021/22: Yes (LT)

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Personal development skills

  • Communication
  • Specialist skills