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Module European Constitutionalism and Fundamental Rights

This module offers a variety of courses that aim to clarify and make students reflect on the multilayered reality that characterizes the European legal sphere today. What does it mean for citizens to be part of a supranational, national and possibly subnational legal order at the same time? And what does it mean for a lawyer to work in an environment with multiple lawmakers, at various levels? Our module aims to make students sensitive to the consequences of this reality. Gaining a deep insight in these contemporary dynamics will prove crucial for future leading lawyers, in whatever legal profession.

Central to the module are the dynamics between different political levels and institutions. What role, for instance, do national parliaments play in the creation of EU legislation and how are their prerogatives protected? To what extent is the Court of Justice of the European Union a constitutional court and how does it protect the competences of the EU on the one hand and those of the member states on the other hand? Which different types of multi-tiered systems can we distinguish and which factors explain differences in the design of federal systems when we start comparing them?

Special attention is dedicated to fundamental rights, which, today, are protected by various instruments in the European legal sphere (the European Convention on Human Rights, the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, national constitutions etc.). How do these fundamental rights catalogues relate to each other and which one prevails should conflicts arise?

Our focus is on constitutional law sensu lato, but the insights that students acquire have relevance outside this field as well.

Prof. St├ęphanie De Somer