The aim of the course is to examine the constitutional features of the European Union, as developed through the case-law of the Court of Justice of the EU, by employing a methodological approach to the study of EU judge-made law.
More specifically, the course will seek to enhance students’ methodological understanding of constitutional issues of EU legal order. This includes the students’ ability i) to critically assess methods of interpretation of EU law and its synergy with EU common values, ii) to recognize the limitations of legal concepts and the role of policy in legal narratives, and iii) to question and test the utility and quality of arguments commonly used in academic and judicial discourse in EU law.
The course will employ a Socratic mode of teaching and base the entire syllabus on debating whether the nature of the EU legal system as developed through the case-law of the Court of Justice corresponds to the requirements of federal constitutional adjudication. This central question of the course also defines its three central concepts: federalism, constitutionalism and (the proper limits to or the legitimacy of) judicial authority. All teaching content will evolve around these three central themes, trying to define what these themes are, and whether judge-made law in the EU fits the description.
Within the scope of the course’s three themes, the students will assess TOPICS that include, first of all, the constitutional features of the EU, such as the principles of direct effect and supremacy, sovereignty and supranationally, general principles of EU law, protection of fundamental rights, the rule of law and EU citizenship. They will also examine the federal nature of these features and learn to understand the difficult, policy-based task of maintaining the balance of powers between the Union and its Member States. Students will also gain knowledge of the constitutional methods of legal interpretation employed by the Court of Justice, and learn to question the determinacy of methods used to interpret EU law. Overall, the course will enable students to question the complexities arising out of the Union’s unique supranationality and its (contested) federal and constitutional nature, as developed through dynamic and multi-dimensional process of federal constitutional adjudication.
30 hrs. of teaching
Interactive lectures based on a Socratic method
doc. dr. sc. NIKA BAČIĆ SELANEC, LL.M. (UMich)
1. Constitutional Ambitions of a New Legal Order
2. Challenging Supremacy and the Concept of Sovereignty
3. EU Federalism: A Separation or a Balance of Competences?
4. Methods of Interpretation in EU Constitutional Law
5. Constructive Interpretation and General Principles of EU law
6. EU Fundamental Rights as Constitutional Ideals
7. Defining the Scope of EU Law and its Limits
8. Social Objectives of the Internal Market and the Relevance of EU Citizenship
9. The Rule of Law and the Role of Judiciary
10. EU Constitutionalism Without a Constitution?
1) Take-home, open-book exam – 80 of the grade
2) Regular attendance and class participation – 20 of the grade
Students will be required to prepare for each class in advance by reading the assigned materials available at the course e-learning site.
The course is based on a Socratic method. Students will be expected to participate in class discussions, which may influence their final grade.