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Unit information: Constitutional and Substantive EU Law in 2016/17

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Unit name Constitutional and Substantive EU Law
Unit code LAWDM0088
Credit points 30
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Sargoni
Open unit status Not open




School/department University of Bristol Law School
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law


This unit aims to give students an understanding of both constitutional and substantive EU Law. The unit examines the institutional structure of the EU, the available legislative instruments, the relationship between EU law and national law, and key aspects of substantive EU law including a discusson of market integration. It discusses the role and competences of the EU institutions, with a particular focus on the Court of Justice and its relationship with national courts.

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of the unit, the student will be able, to a degree commensurate with the level to be expected from a postgraduate law student, to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the topics covered in their constitutional, political and economic context.
  • Make a personal and reasoned judgment based on an informed understanding of standard arguments in the areas covered in the unit.
  • Summarise the current state of doctrinal debate on the matters covered in the unit.
  • Apply the knowledge acquired to complex legal issues and suggest solutions pursuant to properly substantiated arguments.
  • Bring together materials from primary and secondary sources dealing with topics presented in the module and present them coherently.
  • Assess critically the extent to which the law achieves its policy objectives in practice.
  • Discuss the policy choices facing the decision-making actors in the areas covered in the unit.
  • Interact with other members of the seminar group, offering views, receiving information and modifying responses where appropriate.
  • Assess his/her progress during the semester, identify areas on which assistance is required and react on feedback given. The examination includes both problem type and essay type questions, designed to assess both whether students were able to understand and apply the law across the breadth of the syllabus, and whether they were able to think critically about it. In addition, the coursework component of the assessment regime enables students to demonstrate their research skills and their ability to make arguments which draw on material which does not form part of the taught syllabus.

Teaching details

This unit is taught by way of 20-30 lectures, 10 two-hour seminars and 2 assessment preparation and feedback sessions. Lectures are delivered jointly to students on the related undergraduate unit.

Assessment Details

Summative: a 2000 word essay (33%) will assess the candidate's ability to research a topic within the scope of this unit. The remaining Intended Learning Outcomes will be assessed in a 3 hour written examination (67%). Both assessments will assess all of the Intended Learning Outcomes for this unit in the context of topics selected by the examiners.

Formative: students should do one formative assessment (this will usually be 1 x 1500 word essay).

Reading and References

  • Barnard, The Substantive Law of the EU (OUP, 4th ed, 2013)
  • Craig and de Burca, EU LAW (OUP, 5th ed, 2011)