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GARBEN S. - Legal Methodology II (10h)

Every year, the College of Europe Law Department welcomes a number of students from all over Europe. Some of them have already acquired an extensive knowledge of various areas of substantive EU law. Others arrive with very little knowledge of EU law. Invariably, however, all previous EU law studies were carried out as a part of a national law curriculum, in which EU law is, intentionally or not, approached with the mind-set of the respective national legal order. The methods tend to be analogical to those prevailing within the given national legal tradition.

This may cause some initial problems. Continental lawyers, used to think of EU law in terms of neatly-packaged and already academically digested system of principles and legislation, which they are often just asked to memorize, encounter difficulties in finding their own way around masses of often contradictory case law of the Court of Justice in the field of for instance internal market law or judicial remedies. Conversely, common lawyers looking at EU legislation find it hopelessly abstract, too general, and impossible to apply in any meaningful way to a concrete case. Finally, students coming from the New Europe and beyond may arrive with strikingly different methodological background, if any at all.

The aim of this Legal Methodology course is to provide an introduction to, and above-all hands-on experience with, a “European legal method”, and particularly the methodology of the European Legal Studies Department, which is characterized by the independent study and interpretation of primary sources.

The second part of the course, taught in the beginning of the second semester, builds on the methodological practice and insights of the first part, while stepping up the level and type of output required of the students. In the first part, the task was mainly to learn how to understand the primary sources, while in the second part the students will be trained to critically assess, and generate, these primary sources. More concretely, this means that the course will deal with (i) academic legal writing, and particularly the MA thesis at the College, as well as (ii) practical legal writing, such as a judgment and a briefing paper. It will be another occasion for them to receive feedback on their written work.

Professor: Sacha GARBEN