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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Law : Law

Postgraduate Course: EU Fundamental Rights Law (LAWS11323)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Law CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe course is aimed at providing the students with a detailed insight into a number of thorny issues in EU Fundamental Rights Law. The results of the Brexit referendum have only increased the importance of understanding the centrepieces of Union law. Starting with the basic tenets of the historical background and the EU fundamental rights institutional framework, the course will address the main principles governing: the relationship between EU and national law; the role of the Union as an actor involved in fundamental rights protection; the controversial interplay between the EU and the ECHR system. The students will familiarise deeply with the controversial interaction between fundamental rights and fundamental freedoms. Furthermore, the student will gain knowledge of 'burning topics', such as fundamental rights and the Internet.
Course description This course covers the law of fundamental rights in the European Union. After a first introductory part - aims at familiarizing students with the development of fundamental rights law in the European Union - the course will address the internal dimension of EU fundamental rights and will have a focus on the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. Students will be exposed to doctrinal questions, as well as at the discussion on the substantive content of the rights mainly on the basis of the case law of the CJEU. At this stage, students will also grapple with the problem of enforcement of fundamental rights, and in particular the issue of systemic shortcomings in the Member States. Finally, the course will address the external dimension: the clash between fundamental rights and UN Security Council Resolutions, the responsibility of EU Member States before the European Court of Human Rights and the relationship between the EU and the ECHR systems.

The course content will cover, inter alia:
- Horizontal effect of the Charter and right v principles;
- EU Fundamental Rights and EU Criminal Law;
- The Internet and EU Fundamental rights;
- EU Fundamental Rights v Fundamental Freedoms;
- Multi-level protection of fundamental rights;
- National rights v EU rights;
- Enforcing Fundamental Rights in the EU;
- The relationship between the EU and the ECHR.

The course will be taught in ten seminars addressing the issues referred to above. The course will be based on a high level of interaction, fostered by the implementation of class participation. Students will gain an insight into the tenets of EU Fundamental Rights Law. The course is aimed at providing the students with deep knowledge of the centerpieces of EU Fundamental Rights Law, which will be acquired through the improvement of their analytical, synthesis and problems solving skills. Furthermore, their oral and presentation abilities will be tested. In order to assess the achievement of these goals, students will write a long abstract/outline of 1000 words, followed by a presentation at a class workshop organized in collaboration with the Europa Institute.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements An understanding of EU law, in particular, of the principles of primacy and direct effect and the basic workings of the Court of Justice.
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate and/or work with knowledge and understanding of the ways in which EU Fundamental Rights Law is developing.
  2. Apply knowledge, skills and understanding in using a wide range of the principal materials associated with EU Fundamental Rights Law.
  3. Offer insights, interpretations and solutions to problems and issues related to EU Fundamental Rights Law.
  4. Use a wide range of routine skills (bibliographical research) and some advanced and specialised skills in support of established practices in EU Fundamental Rights Law.
  5. Manage resources within defined areas of EU Fundamental Rights Law.
Reading List
Reading lists will be prepared each year, depending on the specific topics discussed in class.

Recommended textbooks for additional or background reading are: Craig and De Búrca, EU Law: Text, Cases and Materials (OUP, 6th edition, 2015); Chalmers et al, European Union Law: Text and Materials (CUP, 3rd edition, 2014; also available online via
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Cognitive skills:
* Use a range of approaches to address defined and/or routine problems and issues within EU Fundamental Rights Law.
* Undertake critical analysis, evaluation and/or synthesis of ideas, concepts, information and issues that are within the common understandings fundamental rights law.
* Present and evaluate arguments, information and ideas that are routine to fundamental rights law.

Communication, numeracy and IT skills:
* Use a wide range of routine skills, such as:
* Convey complex ideas in well-structured and coherent form.
* Communicate, using appropriate methods, with peers and staff members.
* Present or convey information EU Fundamental Rights Law to staff members and peers.
* Undertake critical evaluations of a wide range of sources associated with EU Fundamental Rights Law.

Autonomy, accountability and working with others.

* Use of a wide range of routine skills and a significant range of advanced and specialised skills, in particular:
* Exercise autonomy and initiative in research activities.
* Practise in ways that show awareness of own and others¿ roles, responsibilities and contributions.
* Take responsibility for a range of resources.
* Work in a peer relationship with other students.
* Demonstrate initiative and make a contribution to change and development and/or new thinking.
KeywordsFundamental Rights; European Court of Human Rights; Court of Justice of the European Union; Charter
Course organiserMr Darren Harvey
Tel: (0131 6)50 9823
Course secretaryMr David Morris
Tel: (0131 6)50 2010
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