European Law


The European Law Master’s specialisation is founded on the Europa Institute’s research, ‘Securing the Rule of Law in a World of Multi-level Jurisdiction’. This has three components (‘Trias Europea’): the institutional structure of the Union, the protection of fundamental rights in an integrated Europe, and the regulation of economic relations. These three topics are included in every component of this programme, addressing the question as to how the rule of law (i.e. democracy, protection of human rights, adequate legal remedies) can be maintained while the law is developed at several levels.

Treaty of Lisbon

You will study the institutional structure of the Union (looking at the present Treaty structure as well as at proposed reforms in the Treaty of Lisbon) and the manner in which compliance with the fundamental rights within the legal order of the Union is ensured. In addition, you will learn about the position of the European Union in the world, the relation between EU law and national law, and the way in which trade and commerce is regulated by the EU.

Special features

As a student of the European Law Master’s, will benefit from:
• the attention given to developing practical skills in `privatissimum’ and ‘practicum’ courses, where you will give presentations in class, exchange ideas and develop your research;
• the small, seminar-style classes;
• the annual study trip to Strasbourg, Luxembourg and Brussels, during which you will experience European institutions in practice;
• the opportunity to participate in moot courts, , the most important being the European Law Moot Court Competition. Participation in moot courts is actively supported;
• the extensive network of our staff, which can facilitate internships (not part of the programme), or other contacts;
• the Law School’s excellent library, as well as the library of the nearby Peace Palace (The Hague), which houses one of the world’s largest legal collections.

Full-time or part-time

The programme is offered full-time (one academic year) and part-time (regularly two academic years), both with daytime classes. Part-time students are offered the same facilities and courses as full-time students. You may start the programme either in September or in February. Each course is concluded with an examination. You will be expected to make regular contributions throughout the courses and are required to prepare oral and written presentations. For non-European students, the part-time option is not possible because of visa requirements.

Detailed programme

For a detailed programme for European Law, see the e-study guide. Please note that this guide applies to the current academic year, which means that the curriculum for next year may slightly differ.

Note for international students

Before applying to the programme, international students are advised to verify with the relevant authorities whether the diploma of this master’s programme, together with their bachelor’s degree, qualifies as full legal education and provides access to the legal profession in their home countries. Dutch students with a bachelor in law fulfil the requirements for the effectus civilis (civiel effect) upon successful completion of this master’s programme.

Master details

  • This is a specialisation of: Law
  • Degree Master of Laws in Law
  • Mode of study Full-time, part-time
  • Duration 1 year
  • Start date September, February
  • Language of instruction English
  • Location Leiden
  • Croho/isat code 60084

Join the Masters of Leiden Law School: European Law

Difference between Regular and Advanced Programmes

Regular LL.M. programmes are the final part of the standard Dutch law curriculum.

The regular LL.M. programmes are the final part of the standard Dutch law curriculum and form a required programme for Dutch students wishing to gain the right to enter legal practice in the Netherlands. The regular programmes the Leiden Law School offers are also accessible for international students (and attract many!), and are aimed at those participating directly after completing a bachelor‘s programme in Law.

There are two major differences between the Advanced Studies programme the regular master’s specialisation:


  • The Advanced Studies programme focuses on European Law from a business perspective, as seen against the background of international law.
  • The regular master’s programme focuses on European Law only and within this field provides a more general perspective (e.g. by including courses on Constitutional Law and Human Rights).

Level of teaching and learning

  • The regular programme is part of the standard Dutch law curriculum, and is a required programme for Dutch students wishing to gain the right to legal practice in the Netherlands. The regular programme is also accessible for international students, aimed at those coming in directly after completing their bachelor ‘s programme.
  • The Advanced Studies programme is specifically designed for excellent students at an advanced level and for qualified lawyers who wish to enhance their career prospects.

Regular LL.M. programmes:

Advanced Studies programmes:

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