6 ECTS credits
150 h study time

Offer 1 with catalog number 6016813FNR for all students in the 2nd semester at a (F) Master - specialised level.

Semester
2nd semester
Enrollment based on exam contract
Impossible
Grading method
Grading (scale from 0 to 20)
Can retake in second session
Yes
Taught in
English
Faculty
Faculty of Law and Criminology
Department
International and European Law
Educational team
Sebastian OBERTHUR (course titular)
Harri KALIMO
Activities and contact hours
39 contact hours Lecture
Course Content

Understanding EU law making in its international context continues to grow in importance. Various life-long career paths in the public sector, but also in the private sector due to the increasing deliberative approach to law-making, deal with these issues. This is particularly well illustrated in the area chosen as a case study, EU environmental law, because the policy and law-making take place in an intricate context of multi-level governance.

The course capacitates students to understand and gain practical experience on this process through a practical role-play exercise that emulates the EU’s ordinary legislative procedure. The students need to engage in various activities in different phases of the legislative procedure, playing the roles of the Commission, the Council, the Parliament and the civil society stakeholders.

The role-play exercise thus completes the theoretical knowledge of postgraduate law students on (environmental) decision-making in the EU with a practical, hands-on case study. Each student will gain an in-depth understanding of the application of the decision-making rules in the EU, and get the opportunity to “live” the procedures for themselves. This complements the students’ theoretical knowledge in the area, and will link substantive legal issues to the intricacies of the decision-making procedures and interest representation in the EU. The case study will develop the students' analytical and presentation skills. Civil servants and/or representatives of the civil society (companies, NGOs, law firms), who  work in Brussels and deal with European environmental law, will assist the students as tutors in the game. 

Course material
Course text (Required) : Reader
Digital course material (Required) : A detailed course outline including the required reading is posted on Pointcarré and discussed in the first session
Additional info

A detailed course outline of the exercise, the schedule and the mandatory reading material is distributed to the students and posted on Point Carré. A reader containing the mandatory readings is distributed at the beginning of the course. Students are expected to have read the required reading before the exercise starts.

The particular case to be explored in the role-play exercise will be prepared in advance by the course teachers. An introductory session explaining the contents and objectives of the course will be held in March/April, and each student will receive a “brief” outlining the issue to be negotiated and their particular role(s) in the exercise. The students will then need to prepare their position paper and negotiating strategy in advance of the role-play exercise, emulating to the extent possible the real-life role that they have been assigned.

Each student will present their position paper to the teachers and/or tutors before the start of the exercise. The students must integrate any feedback into their position and strategy in preparation for the game itself.

Facilities

The role-play will take place in the Rome and Lisbon conference rooms at the Karel van Miert building, Pleinlaan 5. Small meeting rooms are available at these premises for more “informal” negotiations among the role players, and for the preparation of the participants, during the role-play.

Each student will receive a name-badge indicating the institution (s)he represents and the role (s)he is playing. The facilities will be arranged so as to reflect the institutional setup. Other practical materials will be made available to the participants.

Timeline

End of March/April: An introductory lecture is held. Each student receives a background brief outlining the issue, and the role that (s)he will be playing during the exercise.

April: The students carry out background research on the issue at stake, and prepare the position they will take in the exercise, according to which role they will be playing.

End April: A stakeholder consultation will take place, where the preliminary positions of the parties are discussed to help the players get an early overview of the game. 

Start of May: All position papers are submitted. Refresher lecture on EU decision-making.

The students will be evaluated on the basis of their submitted position papers. They will also prepare for a 5-10 minute oral presentation of this paper to the teachers and tutors involved.

The schedule of the role-play exercise is as follows:

Day 1:  Students presenttheir position papers individually to the tutors/teachers, and receive feedback.

Day 2: The students update their positions on the basis of the feedback received in the oral presentations, in preparation for the role-play exercise.

Days 3-5: Negotiations. On these days, the game takes place, with negotiations ongoing until a final agreement is reached.

Day 5: Continuation of negotiations, if necessary. Debriefing and feedback.

Learning Outcomes

General competencies

This seminar provides the students legal field experience in the domain of public law, using environmental law as a case study. The students will learn how to work in the practical setting of law-making, as the work links substantive law issues (in the area of environmental law) to the intricacies of the law making procedures and interest representation in the EU. This develops both their analytical and presentation skills.

The students will improve their practical competences, as they learn hands-on from civil servants and representatives of the civil society (companies, NGOs, law firms), who all work in Brussels and deal with European environmental law, and will assist the students as tutors in clearing a case. After the course, the students will be able to carry out tasks of legal nature in the field of EU and international (environmental) law making process, (e.g., drafting legislative memoranda, committee and working group documents and stakeholder position papers). Students practice and acquire in-depth knowledge on the most important features of the involved procedures, including the involved actors and their interests.

After the case study exercise, the participants have a good knowledge of the EU’s ordinary legislative procedure and the actors and institutions involved in it. The students also have an in-depth understanding of selected fields of EU and/or international environmental law, including the sources of such substantive law.

Due to the role-play nature of the course, the students obtain hands on practical experience on the working methods of the EU institutions, playing the roles of Commission and Council officials, Members of the Parliament as well as interest advocates of the civil society. The tasks involved in the exercise simulate the real life working methods in the different institutions, where legal knowledge intertwines with economic and political realities. Civil servants and/or representatives of the civil society (companies, NGOs, law firms), who work in Brussels and deal with European environmental law, will assist the students, making the simulation as real as possible.

In the exercise, the entire law making process from initiation of a draft Commission proposal to a final EU law is completed. In trying to influence the outcome from the perspective of their respective roles, the students learn to research and develop workable solutions to a legal text, create arguments to defend their positions, and persuade their colleagues through both oral and written media. The acquired knowledge of conducting negotiation will in the process be transformed into practical skills, confidence and motivation to act successfully in an international setting, both individual and as a group (e.g. as an institution or a political party).

Grading

The final grade is composed based on the following categories:
LEC Presentation determines 65% of the final mark.
LEC Paper determines 25% of the final mark.
Other determines 10% of the final mark.

Within the LEC Presentation category, the following assignments need to be completed:

  • Role Play with a relative weight of 1 which comprises 65% of the final mark.

    Note: Students are required to participate actively, write an individual memorandum and present their case during an oral hearing. Each student will present and defend his/her case at an oral hearing. Students will be graded jointly by their tutors and professors Kalimo and Oberthür.

    The course tests the student’s ability to apply his/her skills in a practical, real-life simulating situation in a coherent and persuasive manner.

Within the LEC Paper category, the following assignments need to be completed:

  • Memorandum (with presentation) with a relative weight of 1 which comprises 25% of the final mark.

    Note: Students are required to participate actively, write an individual memorandum and present their case during an oral hearing. Each student will present and defend his/her case at an oral hearing. Students will be graded jointly by their tutors and professors Kalimo and Oberthür.

    The course tests the student’s ability to apply his/her skills in a practical, real-life simulating situation in a coherent and persuasive manner.

Within the Other category, the following assignments need to be completed:

  • Presentation with a relative weight of 1 which comprises 10% of the final mark.

    Note: Studenten moeten actief deelnemen aan de hoorcollegs

Additional info regarding evaluation

The course tests the student’s ability to apply his/her skills in a practical, real-life simulating situation in a coherent and persuasive manner.

Students will be evaluated as follows:

  • Active participation in a stakeholder consultation (10 %)
  • Quality and accuracy of the position papers, and oral presentation of the paper (25 %).
  • Participation in the role-play, in the drafting of the intermediate and final agreement(s), including the incorporation of one’s position (and the feedback on it from the oral presentation) into the role-play exercise and the negotiation strategy (65%).

Academic context

This offer is part of the following study plans:
Master of Laws: Law in an International Context (only offered in Dutch)
Master of Laws in International and European Law: Standaard traject