In this semester, students study the legal mechanisms for protecting human rights within the legal order of the European Union. We will start off with basic misconceptions found in media regarding the EU and the ECHR and discuss the historical origins of EU fundamental rights. Subsequently, we will discuss what “Brexit” means for EU fundamental rights as well as the structure, nature, and legal effects of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and the enforcement of these rights, both before the courts of the EU and the Member States. The last part of this module will focus on the most controversial and complex issues of EU fundamental rights, namely their relationship with international law and the EU’s planned accession to the ECHR. Problem questions will be solved by utilising CJEU case law and discussing academic articles in this field.
1. Introduction: Misconceptions and Misunderstandings – Distinguishing the EU from the ECHR/Council of Europe
2. The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights: History, Structure, Legal Nature
3. The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights: Scope of Application, Interpretation, and Level of Protection
4. EU Fundamental Rights and Brexit
5. Enforcement of EU Fundamental Rights in National Courts
6. Enforcement of EU Fundamental Rights in EU Courts
7. The Kadi Saga: EU Fundamental Rights and International Law
8. EU Accession to the ECHR I: Background, Case Law, and Reasons for Accession
9. EU Accession to the ECHR II: Selected Issues of the Accession Agreement
10. EU Accession to the ECHR III: Opinion 2/13 – The End of Accession?
The aims of this module are as follows:
3,000-4,000 word essay