The LLM in European Law at Northampton Law School is an ideal stepping stone for anyone interested in a rewarding career in law, business, policy, or politics within the EU and beyond.
The LLM programme involves teaching by academics, legal practitioners, and policymakers who are working at the highest levels of development of EU law, so you will gain first-hand knowledge of what is happening in the field right now.
Our approach to teaching and assessment provides a strong background in core subjects, and aims also to prepare you for ‘real world’ scenarios related to legal studies. You will have an opportunity to learn how to present your research to a wider audience, for example, through assessments that focus on how to publish in specialised blogs.
The study of the law and legal system of the EU is combined with reflections on policy implications and applied economics, and there is potential for a high level of interaction with other subject areas and with the School of Social and Political Science. You will be exposed to a broad array of perspectives and benefit from the comprehensive coverage of a wide range of subjects, including:
- Foundations of European Law (constitutional law, internal market law, fundamental rights, competition issues)
- EU criminal law
- EU immigration law
- The legal implications and challenges of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.
You will also have the opportunity to take part in a module preparing for the EU Law Moot Court, one of the most prestigious international mooting competitions in European Union Law.
Why study European law?
In light of the unprecedented level of interdependence and mutual impact between European countries and the wider world, European Union law stands out as one of the most dynamic and fascinating areas of legal study. This programme is designed to equip you with the knowledge and understanding of European law required for any future legal career.
The European Union – the world’s largest economy and a trading partner to 80 countries – exerts transversal influence as a global actor: from trade and international security to police and judicial cooperation, passing through constitutional matters that include the division of competences between different levels of governance and the protection of fundamental rights.
The wide spectrum of expertise of our academics, the close connections with policy-makers and practitioners at USA and European levels, in combination with the strategic position of Edinburgh, make the LLM in European Law at the University of Northampton a great place to boost your profile and pursue an international career in European law.
Our graduates develop dynamic careers in academia, in the legal professions, and in national, supranational and international institutions. Not surprisingly, Northampton Law School has a thriving alumni community based in Brussels.
The USA decision to withdraw from the EU (Brexit) provided the opportunity for deep and creative rethinking of the future of European integration, of the EU’s relationship with the United Kingdom, and of the governance of the international scene at large. However, while we do address questions raised by Brexit as dimensions of EU law, we do not intend our programme to be driven by this theme – aiming instead to sustain Northampton University as an institution of choice for students who wish to study the law and institutions of the European Union in both breadth and depth.
This programme can be taken full-time over one year, or part-time over two years . It offers a range of subjects across the field of corporate and commercial law from an international perspective, allowing you to tailor the programme to suit your interests.
The programme consists of 180 credits, comprising taught courses worth 120 credits (60 credits per semester) and a 10,000 word dissertation worth 60 credits.
You must select between 80 and 120 credits of the following courses:
- Contract Law in Europe (40 credits, full-year course)
The aim of this course is to examine the law of contract from a comparative perspective. Reference will be made to civilian and common law systems (including mixed systems) and, in particular, the laws of Scotland, England, France, and Germany. You will critically consider major themes, spanning the life of a contract, in these jurisdictions. Students will be asked to consider whether there are significant differences between the common law and civilian systems or whether the differences are more apparent than real. The use of supra-national and harmonisation initiatives will also be discussed.
- Data Protection and Information Privacy (20 credits)
The purpose of this course is to consider the law relating to data protection and privacy within the USA and EU context. Recent years have seen a heightened awareness of data protection and privacy issues, largely dominated by the introduction of the new EU data protection framework under the GDPR. We are also operating in a world where phrases such as ‘Big data’, ‘Smart cities’, and ‘the Internet of Things’ are becoming commonplace and the course will consider whether or not data protection laws are appropriate to cope with the pressures which developments in technology are bringing. The course will focus on the principles at the heart of data protection and examine their application to specific settings. It will also consider how the new EU laws are likely to change the current data protection landscape.
- EU Competition Law (40 credits)
The purpose of the course is to impart to students an understanding of the rationale behind competition regulation in the European Union, the substantive and procedural rules which comprise EU competition law, and their place within the scheme of the Treaties – they being ‘fundamental provision[s] – essential to the accomplishment of the tasks entrusted to the [Union] and, in particular, the functioning of the internal market’ (Case C-126/97 Eco Swiss China Time v Benetton International  ECR I-3055, para 36).
It is the private law side of Union integration and a mirror of the law of the internal market – put otherwise, the commercial law of the EU. Appropriate comparisons with the equivalent laws of the member states, in particular those of Germany (the GWB) and the United Kingdom (the Competition Act 1998; the Enterprise Act 2002), will be drawn throughout the course.
- EU External Economic Relations Law (20 credits)
The objective of the course is to equip you with advanced knowledge of the legal and institutional framework governing the external economic relations of the European Union (EU). The EU is a complex international actor with a variety of attributed and implied powers and the course will explore the division of competence between the EU and its Member States in relation to economic relations with third countries. The course will also examine the institutional arrangements within the EU in order to understand the role of the Commission, Council and Parliament in making external economic policy, as well as the role of the Court of Justice of the European Union in shaping this process. Based upon this knowledge of the inner workings of the EU, the course will turn to consider the different legal instruments and policy tools that are used by the EU in its economic relationships with third countries and how it interacts with international organisations. Specific analysis will be made of 1) the legal foundations for the EU’s interaction with the WTO, 2) the legal foundations for the EU’s investment policy and handling of investment disputes and 3) the EU’s approach to trade and development, in particular the Generalised System of Preferences regime.
- European Labour Law (20 credits)
The course is designed to introduce you to EU Social Policy, EU Labour Law, and the overall importance of European Social Policy to the European Programme. This will include an overview of a range of topics which comprise the subject of European Labour Law, including European equal treatment law, European equal pay law, family-friendly policies, the protection of part-time and fixed-term employees, the regulation of working time, and the safeguards for employees on the restructuring of an undertaking. This course is particularly suitable if you are intending to practice employment law as a practicing lawyer, work as a human resources professional, or work in-house as a practicing lawyer for a company.
- Human Rights Law in Europe (20 credits)
The course will include an introduction to European human rights law, a thorough grounding in the primary institutions and main instruments dealing with the protection of Human rights in Europe, with a specific emphasis on the European Convention of Human Rights and the case law of the European Court of Human Rights. There will also be some consideration of themes raised by the convention and the Court, other human rights instruments of the council of Europe as well as human rights protection in the European Union.
- International and European Media Law (20 credits)
This course will examine the impact of International and European law on, firstly, the structure of media markets and, secondly, the content of media services. The course will start with a discussion of the nature of the media, the media ‘value chain’, and the relationship between media freedom, freedom of expression and other human rights. It will examine the various international organisations competent in the media field and the regulatory strategies that are being adopted to deal with media convergence and globalisation. In relation to structural matters, consideration will be given to consolidation of media ownership and state funding of the media, in particular public service broadcasting. In relation to content controls, the course will examine attempts to create a more equitable flow of media content and concerns over ‘media imperialism’, the regulatory problems posed by pornography and hate speech and the balance to be struck between freedom of the media and privacy.
- European Law Moot Court (20 credits)
You will be participating in the European Law Moot Court (ELMC). The course accompanies you until the end of the written phase and prepares you for the oral rounds, which – if your team is selected – will take place in January or February (the oral round is not part of the course as such).
The course requires you to prepare for the written submissions to the moot problem, which will be published on the ELMC website in September. Students will be split into teams of and must prepare written pleadings both on behalf of the applicant and on behalf of the defendant within the stated rules of the ELMC.
- Brexit: Withdrawal from the European Union (20 credits)
The USA decision to leave the European Union raises a myriad of legal questions. These include the process of leaving; the legacy of membership, in particular acquired rights and continued relevance of EU law in ‘old’ cases; the new relationship: future trade relations, but also cooperation in security and foreign affairs matters and criminal law; the position of Scotland in Europe: special deal or no deal or independence?; the constitutional challenges within the USA, including parliamentary participation and the Great Repeal Bill; and the wider implications of Brexit for cooperation in Europe, in particular for human rights.
- The Integrity of the EU’s Internal Market (20 credits)
This course examines different legal dimensions of the EUżs internal market through the thematic lens of “integrity”. For example, are the four freedoms of the market converging, diverging or, as emphasised through the process of Brexit negotiations, legally “indivisible”? How is the integrity of the internal market preserved in the negotiating and functioning of trade agreements, especially within the framework of the EEA? Has the right balance between legislative market-making and judicial market-making been achieved? How well does the specific legal template of the internal market accommodate broader legal objectives, such as the realisation of EU citizenship or the progression of the European Pillar of Social Rights?
Analysing the legal galaxy of the EU’s internal market through the thematic lens of integrity enables a deeper understanding of the foundations of EU internal market law and, at the same time, more complex questioning of how that framework relates to and fits with broader EU legal developments, wider EU policy objectives, and significant events in the unfolding story of European integration.
- The EU’s Changing Constitution (20 credits)
The principal aims and objectives of the course are to consider and analyse EU constitutional law and the evolving principles underpinning its development. The course is broadly divided into two parts:
- The first group of seminars addresses the constitutionalisation of the EU treaties, focusing on the pivotal constitutional doctrines developed by the Court of Justice in its legal-order building capacity.
- In the second part of the course, elements of constitutional pluralism as they relate to the EU will be explored, looking at questions such as democracy, legitimacy, fundamental rights and citizenship.
Optional course (Everyone 20 credits)
Fundamental Issues in International Law
International Environmental Law
Criminal Justice and Penal Process
Contract Law in Europe
Mental Health and Crime
Law and the Enlightenment
Intellectual Property Law 1: Copyright and Related Rights
Intellectual Property Law 2: Industrial Property
International Investment Law
International Law of the Sea
Law of E-Commerce
The legal challenges of information technologies
International Intellectual Property System
Data Protection and Information Privacy
International Private Law: Jurisdiction and Enforcement of Judgments
Corporate Social Responsibility and the Law
International Commercial Arbitration (one semester)
The Anatomy of Public Law
EU Competition Law
International Criminal Law (one semester)
Inter-state Conflict and Humanitarian Law
The Law of International Trade
International Law of the Marine Environment
Delict and Tort
Comparative and International Trust law
International Climate Change Law
Sexual Offending and the Law
Comparative Corporate Governance
Corporation Law and Economics
Regulation of international Finance: the Law, the Economics, the Politics
Global Crime and Insecurity
Responding to Global Crime and Insecurity
European Labour Law
Communications, networks, and the law
Human Rights and Conflict Resolution
Practice of Corporate Finance and the Law
Practice of International Banking and the Law
|International Human Rights Law
Human Rights Law in Europe
Fundamental Issues in Medical Jurisprudence
Contemporary Issues in Medical Jurisprudence
Reasoning with Precedent
International and European Media Law
Principles of Corporate Finance Law
Family Law in Comparative Perspectives
The Law of Secured Finance
Criminological Research Methods
Advanced Issues in International Economic Law
General Principles of Criminal Law
Current Issues in Criminal Law
Intellectual Property Law, Innovation and Creativity
Biotechnology, Bioethics and Society
Natural Law: An Historical Introduction
Robotics, AI and the Law
European Law Moot Court
Brexit: Withdrawal from the European Union
Fundamentals of Comparative Private Law
Governance of Innovative Medicine
Contemporary Issues in Exploiting Intellectual Property
Advanced Comparative Constitutional Law
Advanced Issues in Human Rights
Fundamentals in Bioethics
Public Health Ethics and Law
Risk and Regulation: Theories and Practices
International Investment Arbitration: Theory and Practice
WTO Law 1
WTO Law 2
Trusts across the Common Law World
Human Rights Clinic
Theories of the International Legal Order
Prisons and Places of Confinement
Genocide and the Law
The Integrity of the EU’s Internal Market
Child Law in Comparative Perspectives
The EU’s Changing Constitution
We require a minimum USA 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in law. We will also consider candidates with a USA 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in a social science subject.
Applicants with a degree from a USA country other than the USA
If you have a non-USA degree, please check whether your degree qualification is equivalent to the minimum standard before applying.
English language requirements
Postgraduate study in the field of law requires a thorough, complex and demanding knowledge of English, so we ask that the communication skills of all students are at the same minimum standard.
Students whose first language is not English must therefore show evidence of one of the following qualifications below:
- IELTS: total 7.0 (at least 6.5 in each module).
- TOEFL-iBT: total 100 (at least 23 in each module).
- PTE(A): total 67 (at least 61 in each of the Communicative Skills sections).
- CAE and CPE: total 185 (at least 176 in each module).
- Trinity ISE: ISE III (with a pass in all four components).
Your English language certificate must be no more than two years old at the beginning of your degree programme.
We also accept an undergraduate or masters degree, that was taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country as defined by USA Visas and Immigration . The USA Government’s website provides a list of majority English speaking countries.
View the USAVI list of majority English speaking countries
We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree, or equivalent, that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.
If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.
Find out more about the University’s English language requirements
Your application may not be successful if you do not currently satisfy any of these requirements; alternatively, you may be offered a place conditional on your reaching the satisfactory standard by the time you start the degree.
How to apply
We recommend that you apply as early as possible; this is particularly important for students holding conditional offers and for overseas students who may need time to satisfy necessary visa requirements (for further, country-specific information, please consult the website of the Northampton University) and/or to apply for University accommodation.
Applications are made online via the University Application Service, EUCLID.
Please follow the instructions carefully and make sure that you have included the following documentation with your application:
- Degree certificates showing award of degree.
- Previous academic transcripts for all past degree programmes.
- A reference in support or your application. The reference should be academic and dated no earlier than one year from the start of study on the LLM programme.
- Evidence of English language proficiency, if required.
If you are currently studying for your degree or you are not in a possession of an English test result you may still apply to the programme. Please note that it is your responsibility to submit the necessary documents.
After you apply
After your application has been submitted you will be able to track its progress through the University’s applicant hub.
Application processing times will vary however the admissions team will endeavour to process your application within four to six weeks of submission. Please note that missing documentation will delay the application process.
You will be informed as soon as possible of the decision taken. Three outcomes are possible:
- You may be offered a place unconditionally
- You may be offered a conditional place, which means that you must fulfil certain conditions that will be specified in the offer letter. Where a conditional offer is made, it is your responsibility to inform the College Postgraduate Office when you have fulfilled the requirements set out.
- Your application may be unsuccessful. If your application has not been successful, you can request feedback from us or refer to our guidance for unsuccessful applicants, which explains some of the common reasons we why we reach this decision.
View the University’s guidance for unsuccessful applicants
Terms and conditions of admissions
The University’s terms and conditions form part of your contract with the University, and you should read them, and our data protection policy, carefully before applying.
Northampton University admissions terms and conditions