LL453E      Half Unit
Law and Politics of the EU

This information is for the 2022/23 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Floris De Witte 7.03 NAB


This course is available on the Executive Master of Laws (ELLM). This course is not available as an outside option.

Students do not require previous knowledge of EU law.

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.

Substantive topics include Brexit, the rule-of-law crisis, and the Eurozone crisis and can be tailored to the interests of the students.


25 hours of seminars

Formative coursework

Students will have the option of producing a formative essay of 2000 words to be delivered one month from the end of the module’s teaching session by email.

Indicative reading

Dawson & De Witte, 'EU Law and Governance' (CUP 2022)

S. Novak & M. Hillebrandt, ‘Analysing the trade-off between transparency and efficiency in the Council of the European Union’ (2020) JEPP 141.

D. Keleman & L. Pech, ‘The Uses and Abuses of Constitutional Pluralism: Undermining the Rule of Law in the Name of Constitutional Identity in Hungary and Poland’ (2019) CYELS 59.

Schimmelfennig, Leuffen, Rittberger, ‘The European Union as a System of Differentiated Integration: Interdependence, Politicisation, and Differentiation' (2015) JEPP 764.

Bonelli & Baraggia, ‘Linking Money to Values: the new Rule of Law Conditionality Regulation and its constitutional challenges’ (2022) GLJ


Assessment path 1
Essay (100%, 8000 words).

Assessment path 2
Take-home assessment (100%).

This Executive LLM course is assessed by either take-home exam (100%) or by 8,000 word assessed essay (100%).

Key facts

Department: Law School

Total students 2021/22: Unavailable

Average class size 2021/22: Unavailable

Controlled access 2021/22: No

Value: Half 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

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Communication