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European Union law

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The Law of the European Union is surrounded by many myths and most look at it as an overly complicated area of international law. This module will not only offer you intensive knowledge of different areas of European Union law, it will also help you to develop and improve highly relevant academic and professional skills. You are going to study European Union law with a practical focus by looking at the workings of the Courts and its jurisprudence intensively.

What you will study

This module explores the Law of the European Union (EU law) by focussing on differing themes. What makes this module unique is the perspective and structure. It will be different to other courses teaching EU law as the inspiration and intention is to teach the differing topics from a European perspective rather than from a UK perspective. This way, you will be given a more in depth view of EU law, with reference to the UK’s legal system where expected and needed. The organisation around themes will mean that the average approach to the teaching of European Union Law will be avoided. Principles such as direct effect and subsidiarity will be taught in a topical context to engage you in a lively discussion with your fellow students and the module team right from the beginning.

In addition to being taught the different aspects of EU law, you will also be given various opportunities to apply and critical evaluate the law with and without reference to the UK’s legal system.

This module which will be presented in four blocks, each of which includes three units.

Block 1: Introduction to the framework 
This block introduces the historic background of the European Union, as well as the institutions, principles and the law-making processes. The first unit of this module will introduce you to the module and the law, and also support your learning journey of EU law as a glossary. This first unit will therefore be unique as it will be structured according to key terms without necessarily have an overarching topical thread running through it.

Block 2: Principles and people 
This block will add more to the aspects of EU law covered in Block one by introducing the single market and exploring citizenship as well as the EU’s approach towards discrimination.

Block 3: Free movement and politics 
This block goes into even more depth and invites you to analyse the free movement provisions in detail as well as exploring the EU’s approach to policy making.

Block 4: European Union law in close-up, 
This block will then add some more flesh to the bones of the EU structure you will have explored so far. Here you will be engaging with topical discussions in environmental and competition law, while also looking at consumer rights.

Parallel to these units, you are going to explore the EU’s judiciary by following a case study. This study will be running parallel to the module content just mentioned, starting in your study week six. You will be exploring one specific case decided by an EU court by following a series of activities on the Open Studio platform. Some of these activities will ask you to share your results with fellow students to allow and facilitate lively discussions and encourage peer review and feedback.

The delivery of content via the module website will be supported by online and face to face learning events. The face to face events are going to be delivered in the form of three day schools, which are spread across the module to prepare you directly for the various assessment points. There will be online equivalents for those events as well as additional OU live sessions supporting your skill development in certain areas. 

You will learn

After studying this module you should be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:
  • concepts, rules and principles of European Union Law
  • social, political, economic and historic dimensions of European Union Law
You should also be able to identify, apply and critically analyse:
  • principles of European Union law
  • different legal and policy arguments with relation to European Union law as articulated in public discourse, academic debate, case law and legal scholarship

Professional recognition

As a core module for the attainment of the LLB QLD at The Open University Law School, this module is recognised by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and the Bar Standards Board (BSB).

Entry requirements

In order to study this module, you must have successfully completed 60 credits of study at Stage 2.

This module will be of potential interest to you if you enjoy philosophy, politics, economics or social sciences, as well as traditional law. Because this is a Stage 3 Law module, it includes some complex legal ideas. It is therefore highly recommended that you have successfully completed at least 60 credits of law at Stage 2, such as either Contract law and tort law (W202) or Public law and criminal law (W203).

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.

What's included

Your study will be supported by various materials. You will receive an online module guide and 12 online units divided into four blocks. These units may include audio-visual elements. You will also receive a textbook, which will be made available online.

Computing requirements

A computing device with a browser and broadband internet access is required for this module.  Any modern browser will be suitable for most computer activities. Functionality may be limited on mobile devices.

Any additional software will be provided, or is generally freely available. However, some activities may have more specific requirements. For this reason, you will need to be able to install and run additional software on a device that meets the requirements below.

A desktop or laptop computer with either:

  • Windows 7 or higher
  • macOS 10.7 or higher

The screen of the device must have a resolution of at least 1024 pixels horizontally and 768 pixels vertically.

To participate in our online-discussion area you will need both a microphone and speakers/headphones. 

Our Skills for OU study website has further information including computing skills for study, computer security, acquiring a computer and Microsoft software offers for students. 

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

Your tutor will be responsible for marking your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs).

You will be able to attend learning events designed to support your studies. You are very strongly encouraged to participate in learning events because they will enable you to discuss aspects of the module with other students, and give you the opportunity to find direct and timely study support. They will also give you an opportunity to build a network with students, tutors and other members of the module team, which can improve and enhance your study experience.

Tutors will use learning events to help you prepare for all your assessed work.

Contact us if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.

Assessment

The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box above.

The assessment points are spread over the course of the module so you are given plenty of opportunity to prepare but also reflect on your progress and achievements. The units are designed in a way to support your learning by means of consolidation and reflection. This will enable you to assess your own progression, encourage reflection on progress as well as checking understanding and knowledge in order to improve your overall learning experience.

You must use the online eTMA system to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs).

If you have a disability

The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying W330 involves. You should use this information to inform your study preparations and any discussions with us about how we can meet your needs.

Future availability

European Union law starts once a year – in October. This page describes the module that will start in October 2018. We expect it to start for the last time in October 2023.

Course work includes:

2 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
2 Interactive computer-marked assignments (iCMAs)
End-of-module assessment
No residential school


Course satisfaction survey

See the satisfaction survey results for this course.