Jean Monnet seminar in European Public Law


academic year 2023/2024
part of Jean Monnet Module "EU Constitutional Law and Methodology"

(4 ECTS)



This seminar is offered in English to Croatian law students who have taken the mandatory  2nd year course on European Public Law, and is equally open to all exchange students.

The seminar analyses central topics of EU law by using a more interactive and practical approach than the one used in standard lectures in a full classroom. The seminar will be held to a smaller, international group of students and will focus on deciphering the methods of development of EU judge-made law, its dynamics and constant progress, as well as the objectives it pursues.

 In particular, the seminar will aim to explain basic concepts of EU law by placing them in a jurisprudential setting, often unknown to students of purely positivistic educational background, which is common in continental legal traditions.

The seminar will therefore enhance students’ understanding of how the case law of the Court of Justice develops using various legal methodologies, such as textual, contextual or teleological interpretation. A special emphasis will also be placed on the relevance of general principles of law, and the principle of proportionality in particular, to fill the interpretative voids left by the legal text or to balance out the conflicting constitutional values of equal rank and thus solve constitutional conflicts.

Certain topics that may be covered include, for example: the development of a “new (EU) legal order” in a comparative common law perspective (understanding EU case law development based on comparison with the US legal system), the direct effect of EU law in practice, the rising threats to the ‘rule of law’ in Europe, EU fundamental rights, etc.

The classes will be interactive, based on the discussions of lecturers and students. The materials for each class will be published in advance on the seminar website, together with a list of questions around which the debate will be conducted. Students will be obliged to prepare in advance and to be ready to discuss the questions indicated in the materials.



winter semester 2023/2024

classes will start in October 2023, exact timing TBC




dr. sc. Nika Bačić Selanec, LL.M. (UMich)





1) Seminar paper 70% of the grade

2) Regular attendance and class participation - 30% of the grade

Students will be required to prepare for each class in advance by reading the assigned materials available at the course e-learning site.

The course is based on a Socratic method. Students will be expected to prepare for class and participate in class discussions, which may influence their final grade.


TEACHING UNITS (examples):

  1. A "New Legal Order" in a Comparative Common Law Perspective
  2. Interpretation of the Law or Judicial Lawmaking: Constitutionalizing the EU through Jurisprudence
  3. Teleological Interpretation and Its Limits: Understanding the Genesis of Direct Effect of EU Law
  4. The Use of General Principles of EU Law
  5. Mangold/AJOS saga and How to Apply Directives in Horizontal Situations
  6. The Principled Nature of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms and the Relevance of Proportionality Tests
  7. The Scope of Application of EU Fundamental Rights
  8. Balancing Constitutional Values: Economic Freedoms v. Fundamental Rights
  9. Judiciary to the Rescue When the Politicians Fail: Protecting the Rule of Law in the EU
  10. How to Construct a “Hypothesis” and Write a Well-Argued Seminar Paper?