50256 - FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS IN EUROPE
Course taught in English
Go to class group/s: 31
Synchronous Blended: Lessons in synchronous mode in the classroom (for a maximum of one hour per credit in remote mode)
It is recommended that students have already taken exams in Constitutional Law.
Rights are examples of ‘Essentially contested concepts. Their meaning, level of protection, and the balance between competing rights and interests are open to debate. Understanding the contemporary dynamics of rights protection requires a closer look at the mechanisms envisaged for their safeguard at the national, supranational (EU), and international (European Convention on Human Rights) levels. Against this backdrop, the course examines how fundamental rights are protected in practice in the European context, which is understood as a multi-layered legal system. Therefore, the course is divided into three modules. The first module explores fundamental concepts concerning rights and their safeguards. The second module makes sense of the interplay between different levels of rights protection. Finally, the third module addresses the protection of fundamental rights at the EU level and its interplay with the national and ECHR systems.
The course starts with a historical outlook of the concepts of ‘civil liberties' and ‘fundamental rights’, focusing on the mechanisms envisaged for their protection at the national, supranational and international levels. The main topics of the course are:
- Concepts and conceptualizations of rights from a historical and comparative perspective.
- The protection of fundamental rights in the national context, with example from within and outside Europe.
- The protection of fundamental rights in the EU context.
- The interplay between the EU and other systems of protection of fundamental rights.
- Understand fundamental rights and civil liberties in their historical and geographical context.
- Understand how fundamental rights impact the design of a multilevel legal order.
- Identify the mechanisms envisaged by domestic and European Union law to protect fundamental rights.
- Understand the interplay between national and European case law on the protection of fundamental rights.
- Critically assess how rights are protected in the context of the European multilevel legal orders.
- Critically evaluate potential conflicts deriving from the interplay between national and European mechanisms for protecting rights.
- Combine (national and European) legal materials to build legal arguments concerning the balancing between competing rights and conflicting interests.
- Face-to-face lectures
- Guest speaker's talks (in class or in distance)
- Case studies /Incidents (traditional, online)
- Group assignments
- The discussion of case studies developed throughout the course to deepen the understanding of the topics addressed in the course.
- Group assignments are designed to promote students' ability to build legal arguments in the European multilevel legal system context.
- Moreover, students are encouraged to engage in class discussion and share their personal understanding of the topics.
- The course may also include guest speakers' talks aimed at providing students with insight on specific problems concerning the protection of fundamental rights in Europe.
Students will sit a written exam, which consist of an open question, to be completed in 1 hour.
The open questions will count for 70% of the final grade, and are designed to test how students master the interplay between national and European case law on the protection of fundamental rights as well as to prove their ability to critically assess the protection of rights in the context of the European multilevel legal order.
Attending students will also be asked to present a group-assignment in class. The group presentation will count for the 30% of the final grade.
A further 5% will be awarded for active class participation.
Students will sit a written exam, which consist which consist of one open question and multiple choice questions to be completed in 1 hour.
The open questions are designed to test how students master the interplay between national and European case law on the protection of fundamental rights as well as to prove their ability to critically assess the protection of rights in the context of the European multilevel legal order.
T. Mertens, A Philosophical Introduction to Human Rights, CUP, Part 1*
G. Romeo, 'Building Integration Through the Bill of Rights? The European Union at the mirror', (2018) 47 Georgia Journal of International & Comparative Law 21-46.
E. Spaventa, “EU Fundamental Rights”, in Barnard and Peers Eu Law, OUP last ed., chapter 9.
E. Spaventa, ‘A Very Fearful Court? The Protection of Fundamental Rights in the EU after Opinion 2/13’, (2015) Maastricht Journal of European and Comparative Law, 35-56.
Futher materials will be indicated in the syllabus.