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Unit information: Law and Policy of the European Union I in 2017/18

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Unit name Law and Policy of the European Union I
Unit code LAWD20023
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Professor. Syrpis
Open unit status Not open

Students will already have encountered certain aspects of EU law in the first year Law and State and Constitutional Rights units (principally the history, the institutions, the development of the EU legal order and the effect of membership of the EU on parliamentary sovereignty). The EU law course is taught on the basis that students are already familiar with the EU material which was covered in the Law and State and Constitutional Rights units.



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


The unit will consider the following issues: the recent history and development of European integration; the nature and objectives of the EU; the institutional structure and the law and decision making processes of the EU; the nature of Union law; the EU legal order; the relationship between EU and national laws; the role and jurisdiction of the Court of Justice; the protection of human rights in Union law.

A knowledge of the European Union legal system is an essential part of the legal education in every Member State. It is not a question of studying some kind of separate ‘foreign’ law but of understanding the source and effect of major parts of the law applicable inside every Member State. To study EU Law, therefore, it is not necessary to be ‘pro-Europe’, or be in favour of further European integration, or to think that the UK should join the Euro. It is simply a matter of seeking to understand EU law and the EU legal order in the same way that you seek to understand domestic law.

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of this unit a successful student will be able to:

• Discuss the nature of the European Union and its political and economic context, from the Treaty of Rome, to the Treaty of Lisbon, to ‘Brexit

• Describe and evaluate the institutional structure of the EU, and the law-making and decision-making processes

• Explain the legal order of the EU and how it relates to the domestic legal order by:

• explaining the direct effect and supremacy of EU law and comparing the way in which it is applied by courts at the European and national levels

• discussing the development, and critically appraise current state, of the fundamental rights jurisprudence of the Court of Justice

• discussing and accounting for the development of the principle of state liability

• comparing public and private enforcement of EU law • identifying the tensions inherent in the Article 267 TFEU preliminary reference procedure

• appraising the effectiveness of bringing of judicial review actions against the EU institutions

• State the law accurately

• Apply legal principles to problem case scenarios

• Think critically about ways in which the law could be reformed This unit is also intended to improve benchmark skills – specifically IT skills, which are used in particular to find recent case law of the Court of Justice.

Teaching details

This unit is taught by a combination of 30 lectures and 8 tutorials.

Assessment Details

2 formative assessments: 2x 1hr problem questions. Formative assessments do not count towards final mark and can be optional.

1 summative assessment: 1 x 3 hour exam in the Summer Exam Period. Summative assessments do count towards final mark.

The assessments will assess all of the intended learning outcomes for this unit.

Reading and References

a) Students must use a statute book (or printed copies of the relevant Treaty materials and other relevant legislation). If statutory materials are not annotated, they can be taken into the exam room.

We strongly recommend that you use the latest edition of Blackstone’s EU Legislation (2016/17) by Nigel Foster.

b) The textbook we recommend for this unit is:

Craig and de Búrca’s EU Law: Text Cases and Materials (OUP, 6th ed. 2015) – this is seen as the best text book.

If you buy the text book and statute book together, Blackwells offer a discount

Possible alternative textbooks are:

Chalmers et al: European Union Law (CUP, 3rd ed. 2014). This is a comprehensive text, cases and materials book, with extracts from a range of sources.


Hartley': The Foundations of European Union Law (OUP, 8th ed. 2014). This is a succinctly written and concise textbook.