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Unit information: Constitutional and Substantive EU Law 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 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. Zwingmann
Open unit status Not open
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School/department University of Bristol Law School
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Unit Information

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 discussion of market integration and the free movement of goods. 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. A knowledge of the European Union legal system is an essential part of legal education in every Member State. For students of law in the United Kingdom, which is no longer a member of the EU, learning about the EU – its institutions and legal framework – remains an important endeavour, particularly as our national representatives seek to forge a new relationship with the Union. This unit is designed:

This unit is therefore designed:

  • to make students ‘Euro-literate’, that is, to make them as familiar with the institutions, terminology and concepts of EU law as they are (or ought to be) with those of the domestic legal system;
  • to acquaint students with the nature of the relationship between EU law and domestic law, and between the European Court of Justice and national courts; and
  • to introduce students to some major areas of substantive EU law, both as an end in itself and also as a basis upon which to proceed to further specialised study.

Your learning on this unit

On completion of this unit a successful student will be able to:

  • Critically analysis the nature of the European Union and its political and economic context through to the Treaty of Lisbon
  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of the institutional structure of the EU, and the law-making and decision-making processes
  • Illustrate and evaluate the main aspects of the law of the internal market in relation to the free movement of goods
  • Evaluate the legal order of the EU and how it relates to the domestic legal order by:
    • stating and analysing 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 appraising the current state, of the fundamental rights jurisprudence of the Court of Justice
    • evaluating and accounting for the development of the principle of state liability
    • critically 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

In relation to the outcomes above, students will also be able to:

  • State the law accurately
  • Critically apply legal principles to problem case scenarios
  • Think critically about the law and ways in which the law could be reformed.

How you will learn

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

How you will be assessed

2 x summative assessments: 1 x coursework and 1 x Timed Assessment (word length will typically be 3,000 words).

The assignments will assess ILOs 1 - 5.


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. LAWDM0088).

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.