Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2012-2013 (archived)


Department: Law


Type Tied Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2012/13 Module Cap None.
Tied to M1K516
Tied to M1K316
Tied to M1K116


  • Introduction to European Law (LAW40215) (unless the student can demonstrate sufficient previous study of EC law).


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To permit students who have already gained a basic grounding in EU constitutional law to acquire a more advanced, and more detailed, understanding of the issues arising in respect of that legal order.


  • The course will focus on selected topics in EU constitutional law, including: The EU structure and the second and third Pillar Competences, including the use of competences in the second and third pillar Institutional balance The role of the judiciary General principles of Community law and general principles of Union law The effect of Union law

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Students will be required to acquire a in-depth understanding of EU constitutional law and a critical view of the complex dynamics that characterise the EU. In particular, students should acquire a detailed knowledge and a critical understanding of the structure and institutional arrangements of the Union, including the second and third pillar; of decision making; of institutional balance and of general principles of Community and Union law.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • students should acquire the ability to:
  • understand and describe the institutional and constitutional structure of the EU
  • understand and describe the main issues that these structures generate
  • critically evaluate the positions that other scholars hold in relation to these issues
Key Skills:
  • understanding of complex materials
  • ability to describe accurately and comprehensibly the arguments and analysis of other commentators
  • ability to evaluate critically the arguments of others

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • The course will be taught in a seminar format. Students will be given a reading list in advance and will be asked to make a brief presentation in at least one of the seminars. The course is an advanced course for which it is particularly important that students take some responsibility for their own learning. The classes will help the students develop a more critical understanding of the topics discussed.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 1 1 hour 1
Seminars 7 Weekly 2 hours 14
Preparation and Reading 135
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
essay of 3,000 words 3,000 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

Students will be required to give at least one ten minute presentation.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University