Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 2 (Taught over 2 semesters)
Mutually Exclusive
LA17100 and LA17120
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 30 Hours. Two one hour lectures per week
Seminars / Tutorials 6 Hours. Three one hour seminars in each semester


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Exam 2 Hours   100%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   100%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

By the end of the course students will have an understanding of the structure of European legal regimes, of their relationship to each other, of the roles of the main European Institutions, and of the processes of legislation and law application at the European level. They will have acquired a competence in locating and using both primary and secondary sources of European law, and the ability both orally and in writing to construct argument and analyse problems using the methodology of European law, together with an appreciation of the way in which various types of European law interact with national legal systems.

Brief description

Over the last 50 years a body of law has emerged in Europe which has gradually and increasingly both modified and to some extent supplanted the operation of national systems of law in a number of countries, including the UK. To a large extent this has happened through the European Community, of which the UK has been a member for over 25 years and European Community law now comprises a very large body of rules which apply within the national legal orders of the Community member states and regulate in a major way a wide spectrum of commercial and social activities. In addition, in recent years the Community has become part of the broader framework of co-operation embodied in the European Union, which in its second and third 'pillars' has extended common political and legal action to the fields of foreign and security policy and police and judicial co-operation. At the same time, since the beginning of the 1950s, the Council of Europe has promoted wider European legal development through the adoption of a number of European Conventions, most notably the Convention on Human Rights. The resulting legal landscape at the end of the 1990s is therefore a complex and sophisticated interlocking set of European legal regimes which have a significant impact on the everyday working of the national legal orders of several European states. It is difficult now to have an overall understanding of the law and legal system of the UK without a knowledge of the Community and other European legal orders. This module is designed to provide a knowledge and understanding of the main elements of these European legal orders and to introduce students to the materials and methodologies used in those systems. The legal materials used in the Community and other European legal orders differ in important respects from those used in England and Wales and instruction in the use of these sources and in the European legal method is therefore an important part of the course. This module is a pre-requisite for further study of European law [Module LA 32410]. The module will trace the development and explain the principal features of the legal regimes based on the European Community and European Union and arising within the framework of the Council of Europe's Conventions and will consider the inter-relationship of these regimes. There will be a particular focus on the difference between the more integrated 'supranational' legal order of the Community system and the 'intergovernmental' methodology employed within the second and third pillars of the Union and by the Council of Europe. Necessarily a substantial part of the course will deal with the processes of law-making, implementation and enforcement of Community law and policy and the legal accountability of the Community institutions. An important issue is the relationship between Community and national systems since the greater part of Community law has to be applied and given effect by Member State courts and agencies. A study of the problems which arise from this major division of functions within the Community system (law-making and interpretation of law at the Community level and enforcement at the national level) supplies an important theme for this part of the course.


The module aims to provide an understanding of the structure and methodology of the legal orders of the European Community and the European Union and the regimes established by Council of Europe Conventions; to promote an awareness of the general impact of European law on the working of the national legal system; and to satisfy professional requirements as regards the first level of training in the field of European law.



1. An introduction to source material and literature.

2. An overview of European legal regimes : in particular the European Union, European Community and Council of Europe
  • their development
  • their objectives
  • their inter-relationship
  • intergovernmental and supranational models
3. Council of Europe activities.

4. The structure of the European Union
  • the principal treaties
  • EU and EC institutions
  • the three pillars of the Union
  • the legal framework of 'variable geometry'
5. Basic features of the Community legal order : the doctrine of the supremacy of Community law and the role and working method of the Community courts.

6. EC law-making processes and categories of EC law.

7. Implementation and enforcement of Community rules
  • implementation by Community and by Member State bodies and the role of the European Court of Justice
  • enforcement as against Member States and as against individuals
  • the role of the doctrine of direct effect and related principles
8. Accountability in EC law
  • accountability of the EC institutions
  • legal restrictions on decision-making powers
  • judicial review of EC action
  • other methods of accountability

Reading List

General Text
(2006.) European Union law :text and materials /Damian Chalmers ... [et al.]. Cambridge University Press Craig, P. P. (2007.) EU law :text, cases, and materials /Paul Craig and Gr ainne de B urca. 4th ed. Oxford University Press Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 6