LL4BH      Half Unit
Law and Government of the European Union

This information is for the 2023/24 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.

Basic knowledge (at an undergraduate level) of EU institutions, EU law or European integration is required.

This course has a limited number of places and demand is typically high. This may mean that you’re not able to get a place on this course.

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 crucial 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. We will of course discuss these questions with a focus on the contemporary challenges of the EU: ranging from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Brexit to the rule of law crisis and the climate change challenge.


This course will have 20 hours of teaching content in Autumn Term. There will be a Reading Week in Week 6.

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

Dawson & De Witte, ‘EU Law and Government’ (CUP 2022).


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

Key facts

Department: Law School

Total students 2022/23: 17

Average class size 2022/23: 16

Controlled access 2022/23: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course selection videos

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