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Summer 2006: European Union Law & Policy -- University of Denver College of Law
by Don Smith - Monday, 13 March 2006, 1:11 PM

From late May through the end of July 2006, the University of Denver Sturm College of Law will offer European Union Law & Policy on-line.  This course marks the eighth time the college of law has offered the 3-credit course on-line.  The course is open to all law students.    


First launched in 2002, the DU course has been successfully offered to nearly 200 students from six different law schools.  The course is led by Don C. Smith, an adjunct professor of law with a masters in European Union Law from the University of Leicester (England) Faculty of Law and formerly a publishing executive with one of Europes largest publishers.  In past courses, Mr. Smith has been assisted by a range of European-based experts including EU officials and European lawyers, law professors, think-tank leaders, and journalists.


The subject of the course is the fascinating, and yet somewhat bewildering new governmental entity that is being developed on the European continent.  Put simply, the European Union has been described as the 21st centurys newest superpower. 


In many policy making areas including competition law, environmental law, and law of the internal market the EU is becoming a more integrated, organized governmental entity.  Consequently, any law students contemplating a career in international, commercial, or policy-based law will need to understand the EU. 


Looked at another way, trade and investment of nearly 1 billion (or $1.2 billion) flow across the Atlantic between the EU and U.S. every day.  Moreover, the EU has a total population of nearly 450 million, is the worlds biggest trader, and generates one quarter of global wealth.  As the ABA Journal noted recently, [T]he EU is quickly developing a body of law that is having a significant impact on American companies doing business in Europe, even as it diverges in some key ways from U.S. law.


This course will provide a general introduction to the legal system of the EU covering both its constitutional and institutional architecture and focusing on a selection of substantive legal issues.  These topics will be considered in the context of European political integration and, where appropriate, the on-going tension in the trans-Atlantic relationship.  During the course, attention will be called to how contemporary events are helping shape the EU. 


Students will develop a working knowledge of the EUs historical background, institutional framework, sources of law, and concepts of judicial review among other issues.  The course also allows students to work in a virtual setting, a skill that many law firms and businesses are looking for in this on-line age. 


Materials and discussion will address these three basic themes:

  • Constitutional and institutional setting of the EU and its evolution;

  • EU court system including structure, functions, procedure, sources of law, methods of interpretation; and

  • Competition law and policy.


During the 8-weeks, students are given a series of writing, video, and audio assignments focused on allowing them to establish their understanding of the course materials as well as improve their research and writing skills.  One of the course highlights is a series of video presentations from leading EU experts including Judge David Edward, a former member of the European Court of Justice.  Past courses have also featured on-line discussion boards moderated by European law professors, lawyers, and journalists, thus offering students a cross-cultural learning experience as well as a general legal study experience.


Administrative details are:

*Participating students will register as visiting students at DU.

*Students earn DU credit (although it is recommended that students get the approval of their home institutions ahead of time to make sure the credit will transfer).

*Tuition is $1,442.


The University of Denver provides: (1) on-line access; (2) preparation of the course calendar and syllabi; (3) links to on-line reading materials (although a text is also required); (4) all instruction; and (5) grading.


Broadband access for the course is required.


Interested students are encouraged to contact Don C. Smith at dcsmith@law.du.edu or 1 720 936 8465 to learn more about the course and to receive a sample syllabus and course calendar.