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LLM (Master of Laws) in European Law

In order to understand European Law, what it means and how one might get into a Master of Laws in European Law, it’s important to first understand how the European Union (EU) represents Europe. Ever since the formation of the Coal and Steel Community in 1952, Europe took its first steps in gathering itself as a federation. Since then, the EU has stood for peace while striving for social justice globally and at home. 

As the European Community becomes larger and more complex, so have the different laws and legislative processes within it. Some of the newer states built their own fresh legal framework after the collapse of Communism: often, this was based on more established systems, such as the law of England and Wales. However, there are still a number of different codes and ideologies within the EU that occasionally conflict with one another. So the study of European law is a very broad subject, which can be split into several areas: the separate legal structures of the different European Union countries, which are often studied comparatively, ie by measuring substantive individual legislation (employment law, contract law, criminal justice and so forth) from one member state against that of others; cross-European laws that apply to all member states and can range from fairly minor regulations to major treaties; philosophical, historical and political considerations; interaction with countries beyond Europe; and specific legal issues, such as immigration, human rights and conduct of business. European law is an elaborate and interesting topic that continues to grow in popularity as it influences policymaking in Europe, the UK and internationally.

Studying an LLM in European Law puts you at the doorstep of the world’s largest economy. It will also allow you to tackle a broad range of political, economic, legal and policymaking issues. An LLM in European Law will give students an established core of European law subjects at an advanced level within a global perspective. It will look at a wide variety of aspects of European Law within social, political and economic contexts. LLMs in European Law will indepthly study a broad range of fields including constitutional law, competition law, environmental law, employment law, the law on migration, and human rights law.

Find LLM programs in European Law

Number crunching the LLM in European Law

European Law20 programs in the UK alone pertain to an LLM in European law

80 countries trade with European Union

10,000+ word dissertation required for an LLM in European Law

LLM in European Law – who's it for?

An LLM in European Law will help law students and lawyers develop the right skills to take on law, business or policymaking. What makes studying an LLM in European Law so appealing is that this field caters to a large variety of issues that many different types of lawyers could research and investigate. Some of the issues the EU faces are within the context of: human rights law, environmental law, employment law, competition law, constitutional law and the law on migration. What’s more is that because of the size and depth to the European Union, the policies that are in place are in constant flux and will continue to do so. As the EU encompasses many different countries with their own agendas, cultures and histories, lawyers with a background in diplomacy, translation and negotiation
who can speak multiple languages will benefit greatly in obtaining an LLM in European law.

Where can you study an LLM in European Law?

There are many LLM programs in European Law available at law schools throughout Europe including The University of Gronigen’s LLM in European Law in the Netherlands, Germany's University of Hamburg, and the University of Exeter’s European Law LLM in the UK. There are also many LLM programs that combine European Law with aspects of commercial and/or business law for those wanting to specialise more in the commercial or business aspects of European Law, for example Brunel University’s LLM in European and International Commercial Law or the University of Central Lancashire’s LLM in European Commercial Law, both based in the UK.

The majority of universities in the UK that run law courses offer LLMs in some branch of European law. This might be as part of a general master’s in law, but it is more likely to come under a course title like ‘LLM in European Law’ or ‘LLM in European Legal Studies’. At present, there are about 20–25 programs of this type across the country. Apart from these, there are also several that cover both EU and international law, and even more which consider a particular aspect of European legislation, particularly business/commercial law, trade law, human rights law, criminal law and public law. 

What qualifications do you need to study an LLM in European Law?

You will usually need to have a degree in law before applying for an LLM in European Law. Students studying law in the UK will have to pass their Bachelor of Laws, US citizens will have to complete the Juris Doctor, while others in different countries might have to pass a bar examination or equivalent. Some law schools will consider students applying with a degree in economics or politics rather than law, especially if the applicant has some relevant work experience as well. English language requirements are also a must for all overseas students – with high TOEFL and IELTS results being essential.

Student Case Study

Mina Andreeva studied European law at the University of Edinburgh, she says, “It was the excellent reputation that [Edinburgh] University has. I mean it’s known for its law programs, which are very strong and draw a number of international students, as well as the very good courses that are offered. There’s such a broad diversity.”

An LLM in European Law advances careers in...





European Union Representative

5 Fascinating Facts About European Law and the EU

1. 510 million people populate the European Union.

2. EU law is broken into 2 main categories: constitutional law and administrative law. Constitutional law adheres to the European Union’s structure of governance, while administrative law unites the Union’s institutions and member states to follow said law.

3. The Van Gend en Loos case allowed EU citizens to claim direct rights based on EU law.

4. In 1995, the EU issued guidelines that the growing of bananas and cucumbers not be “too bendy”.

5. The Schengen Area, which encompasses most of Western Europe and Scandinavia, has abolished the need to carry a passport while travelling between these areas.

Recommended Reading

EU Law Text, Cases, and Materials Fifth Edition by Paul Craig and Gráinne de Búrca

Unlocking EU Law 4th Edition by Tony Storey and Chris Turner

New Governance and the Transformation of European Law by Mark Dawson

A Critical Introduction to European Law Second Edition by Ian Ward

The Treaty of Lisbon and the Future of European Law and Policy Edited by Martin Trybus and Luca Rubini

A Textbook on EC Law by J J Steiner and L Woods

An Introduction to Comparative Law by K Zweigert and H Kötz

Constitutional Law of the European Union by S Douglas-Scott

European Constitutionalism Beyond the State by J Weiler and M Wind (eds)


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