Module Identifier LA37120  
Academic Year 2001/2002  
Co-ordinator Professor Christopher Harding  
Semester Semester 2 (Taught over 2 semesters)  
Other staff Ms Ann Sherlock, Mr David Poyton  
Mutually Exclusive LA37120  
Course delivery Lecture   35 Hours - Two one hour lectures per week  
  Seminars / Tutorials   8 Hours - Four one hour seminars in each semester  
Assessment Essay   A written assignment of 2,000 words (required in week 5 of Semester 2)   33%  
  Exam   2 Hours Examination at the end of the second semester Candidates will be allowed to bring unmarked copies of the recommended collection of materials into the examination.   66%  
  Resit assessment   Resit: By retaking the failed element (ie written assignment or examination or both, as applicable)    
Professional Exemptions Required for Professional Purposes  

Module 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.

Module objectives / Learning outcomes

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.



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, with special reference to the European Convention on Human Rights and its system of legal protection.

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. More detailed treatment of ''''third pillar'''' [police and judicial co-operation] legal activity and related regimes (including the ''''Schengen'''' regime on border controls).

6. 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.

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

8. 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

9. 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 Lists

** Recommended Text
B Rudden & D Wyatt. Basic Community Laws. 7th. OUP
P Craig & G de Burca. (1998) EU Law: Text, Cases & Materials. 2nd. OUP
S Weatherill & P Beaumont. (1999) EC Law. 3rd. Penguin
T Bainbridge. (1999) The Penguin Companion to the European Union. 2nd.