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Unit information: Law and Policy of the European Union I in 2022/23

Please note: It is possible that the information shown for future academic years may change due to developments in the relevant academic field. Optional unit availability varies depending on both staffing, student choice and timetabling constraints.

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
Units you must take before you take this one (pre-requisite units)

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.

Units you must take alongside this one (co-requisite units)


Units you may not take alongside this one
School/department University of Bristol Law School
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Unit Information

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.

Your learning on this unit

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;
  • 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.

A successful student will also be able to 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.

How you will learn

Teaching will be delivered through a variety of asynchronous and synchronous activities

How you will be assessed

1 x summative assessment: Timed Open Book Assessment with a specified word count (100%)

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


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. LAWD20023).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.