Skip to main content

Law of the European Union (Senior Status)


  • Credit value: 15 credits at Level 7
  • Convenor: Eddie Bruce-Jones
  • Assessment: a 4000-word essay (100%)

Module description

The law of the European Union poses a very particular challenge to students. The gradual evolution of the European Communities from restricted trade organisations to 'quasi-political' community with competences for social policy, foreign policy and home and justice affairs has challenged traditional perceptions of the role, jurisdiction and political constitution of the Nation State and of the international organisations. The challenge to traditional forms of political organisation is mirrored by an assault upon traditional perceptions of law. The primary aim of this module is to examine the extent to which the European Union can be said to have weakened the hitherto strong connection between law and the territorially bounded nation state and to establish new relations with the individual 'European'.

In areas over which the European Union has competence, European law takes precedence over the national law of member states of the European Union. Nationals of member states of the European Union can rely upon Treaty provisions and secondary laws of the EU directly before their national courts. This module examines how such immense shifts in the underlying premise and practical reaches of law have come about. It explores the mechanisms through which EU law manages to govern so significant a part of the lives of the natural and legal persons within the European Union. At the same time, the module seeks to identify the nature of the 'new relationship' between individual Europeans and instruments of European governance.

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you should have:

  • firm substantive knowledge of the structures and workings of the European Union
  • knowledge of political and economic theories of European integration
  • an ability to work with and apply the major doctrines and principles of European law
  • substantive knowledge of selected fields of European law
  • an ability to develop independent views on the nature of European law
  • an ability to work with a group
  • an ability to use all sources of European law, including electronic media.