EU Law I

Course Description: 

EU Law I introduces students to the theory, history, and basic constitutional features of the European Union (EU) and its legal structure. As one of the world’s largest economic blocs and  most important political and law making organizations, the EU plays a key role in regulating the global economy. International business lawyers both within and outside of the EU must therefore demonstrate a basic understanding of its operation. This course will explore the legal and conceptual origins of the EU, the roles and responsibilities of its primary institutions (the Commission, Council,Parliament, and Court of Justice), its most important constitutional principles (such as supremacy and direct effect), and the nature of EU law in relation to the domestic law of its Member States.

Learning Outcomes: 

By the end of this course, students should:

  • Be able to discuss the objectives, competences, and institutions of the EU, both from a contemporary and a historical perspective.
  • Understand the law- and decision-making processes of the EU, the hierarchy of norms, and the effect of EU law in the legal orders of the EU’s Member States.
  • Be able to explain the crucial role played by the ECJ in the uniform application and enforcement of EU law.
  • Understand recent developments and unresolved issues in the institutional law of the EU, the power dynamics of the EU, and the course of future development of EU law.

In addition, students should develop their skills, including:

  • Interpersonal communication skills – mastering EU legal terminology through exposure, repetition, and use in class
  • Technology skills – learning to work with the EU website and resource databases
  • Cultural sensitivity and diversity – feeling comfortable working with different legal systems and traditions, applying comparative principles
  • Critical thinking – developing the ability to analyze, compare, and critique different legal approaches to problem solving

Because it is part of the introductory session, this course will be graded pass/fail. However, a letter grade will be assigned on the basis of adequate attendance, preparation, and participation as well as a final exam.

Class participation will make up 30% of the final grade.

  • The class participation grade includes attendance and active contribution during class, preparation for and completion of in-class activities, and pre-class preparation of readings.
  • As a general rule of thumb, silent and non-disruptive participation in all classes will result in a 'B' grade. Positive contributions to the learning experience will raise this grade according to the level and quality of participation. Disruptive behavior, lateness, or lack of preparedness will lower the grade in proportion to the level and frequency of the undesirable behavior.

The final exam will make up 70% of the final grade.

  • The final exam will be a 2-hour open book exam.   
  • The exam questions will vary in form, from hypothetical cases that students must analyze, to theoretical discussions that students must weigh in on, to legal issues that students must assess. In answering these questions, students are expected to think critically and argue convincingly, providing support for their assertions by citing class materials and readings, as well as any additional outside materials they choose. There is no word limit for the exam—students should use as much space as they require to fully answer the questions.