LL4Z5      Half Unit
State Aid and Subsidies Regulation

This information is for the 2023/24 session.

Teacher responsible

Professor Pablo Ibanez Colomo


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), MSc in Regulation 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 has a limited number of places (it is controlled access) and demand is typically high. This may mean that you’re not able to get a place on this course.

Course content

This course addresses the national and supranational regimes providing for the control of subsidies and similar measures (such as tax breaks, preferential loans and unlimited guarantees). It focuses on the EU and UK systems—in particular EU State aid law, the UK Subsidy Control Act 2022 and the EU Foreign Subsidies Regulation.

Subsidies are a central aspect of policy-making in many jurisdictions. The decarbonisation of the economy and the re-shoring of manufacturing and services typically demand the use of financial incentives to change or to attract some activities. Subsidies may also be a part of an effective response to an economic shock (such as a pandemic or a financial crisis). 

These measures, while sometimes necessary and positive for society, also have the potential to distort competition and trade. For instance, schemes designed to attract multinationals by means of tax breaks and other sweeteners, can have a major impact on investment decisions by firms. As the example of the US Inflation Reduction Act shows, so-called ‘green-subsidies’ may alter the flow of trade in fundamental ways.

Regimes providing for the control of subsidies and similar measures must be understood against this background. These systems may be introduced at the national level (as is true of the UK) and also in the context of bilateral and multilateral trade agreements (including the EU).

The module is structured around four main areas. First, an introductory part explores the rationale behind subsidy control regimes and covers the basic institutional and substantive features of national and supranational arrangements. The second part deals with the boundaries of the notion of subsidy (‘State aid’ in EU parlance). The module then addresses to some of the most prominent areas of enforcement in theory and practice, including environmental and energy aid. The final part of the course is devoted to procedural matters.


20 hours of seminars in the AT. 2 hours of seminars in the ST.

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.

Indicative reading

Quigley, European State Aid Law and Policy (4th Edition, 2022); Bacon (ed), European Community Law of State Aid (3rd Edition, 2017).


Exam (100%, duration: 2 hours, reading time: 15 minutes) in the spring exam period.

Key facts

Department: Law School

Total students 2022/23: Unavailable

Average class size 2022/23: Unavailable

Controlled access 2022/23: 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

  • Communication
  • Specialist skills