Will EU law even be a module on law degrees next year?

Heightened Brexit fears spark student uncertainty

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While everyone ums and ahs about which way they are going to be voting in the upcoming EU referendum, law students have another thing on their minds: the future of their European law modules.

Will EU law still be taught on LLB and GDL modules if the UK votes out, or will the infamously long case names be swept off the curricula?

The topic on everyone’s lips at the moment is the UK’s place in the EU. In the week that David Cameron announced the date of the in-out referendum (which, coincidentally, clashes with the Glastonbury festival) and Boris Johnson put his stake in the ground — alongside Justice Secretary and ex-Justice Secretary Michael Gove and Chris Grayling — as a vote to leave campaigner, the chance of a UK breakaway from the EU feels very real.

So what does this mean for budding lawyers? The future of the legal profession in a theoretical post-Brexit UK has been a hot topic of discussion in recent months, and City law firms have been vocal in their pro-Bremain stance.

Uncertainty has also begun to simmer about EU law as an academic discipline, and whether it could or would survive a vote to leave. Speculation about the status of EU law on GDL and LLB syllabuses — as a core module anyway — has bobbed along for some months now.

But, according to Professor Jeff Kenner — Professor of European Law at the University of Nottingham — there’s nothing to worry about. When asked whether EU law will still feature as a core module on law degree syllabuses if the UK votes to leave the EU in June, Kenner simply replied “yes it will”.

Others aren’t so sure. UCL professor Richard Moorhead had this to say:

Brexit would clearly mean the curricula would change and would likely weaken law firm opportunities in Europe and here, but I doubt either element would happen quickly. Brexit negotiations may proceed more slowly than legal education reform.

Sir Alan Dashwood QC — part-time professor of law at City University and barrister at Henderson Chambers — echoed Moorhead’s sentiments. He told Legal Cheek:

The effect of a vote to leave the EU would certainly have an impact on legal education and legal practice in the UK. Not immediately, perhaps, because there would be an immensely complex task of unravelling the UK’s relationship with the EU, which would require expert lawyers.

He continued:

Very soon, however, EU law would cease to be a core topic, though there would be room for optional University courses and some residual continuing relevance to legal practice, e.g. in the field of competition law.

So, the message from the universities isn’t all that clear. But with the chances of a Brexit fluctuating day by day, there is a real debate to be had about the future of the EU law module.

28 Comments

Tin Foil Hat

“which, coincidentally, clashes with the Glastonbury festival”

You just can’t help taking a snipe can you? *Clearly* the government intentionally matched it up with Glastonbury to rig the vote.

(8)(2)
Katie's wannabe lover

How is that a snipe? Some people just hate Katie and will slag off anything she writes.

(6)(1)
Anonymous

@Lover

You can’t detect the insinuation that it has been intentionally and dishonestly matched to Glastonbury to take those potential voters out of the equation?

Maybe law isn’t for you.

(3)(0)
PhD student

Of course it will be. Even if the UK leaves the EU, it will be bound (to some extent) by EU law.
Non-Member States, such as Norway and Switzerland are bound by EU law, albeit they don’t have a vote.

(8)(0)
Mumsie

That depends on what relationship we decide to have after Brexit. Those countries are bound due to their membership of the EEA.

(2)(0)
Anonymous

Not even the most foamy-mouthed Kipper seems to be suggesting that we will stop trading with the EU, so complying with EU law will still be essential for a huge amount of our business even if we aren’t in the EEA (which Switzerland isn’t a formal member of, by the way). I wouldn’t be surprised if it becomes like Commercial Law – an optional module but realistically 70%+ of people take it.

Hopefully of course none of this will happen at all.

(9)(1)
And then I chundered everywhere

The headline was all I had to see – straight away I knew this would be Katie King article.

In other words, I knew it would be utter shite.

(8)(17)
Lord Pigsmut of Murdoch

They learn EU Law in the United States and other more distant jurisdictions. Therefore, a completely pointless debate – it will a strong legal force with or without the UK in it and a very relevant body of law.

(3)(1)
Anonymous

I’m looking forward to the Commonwealth being put to better use as a global Fair Trade zone with an integrated Common-law based legal system adjudicated by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.

(4)(5)
Anonymous

I’m sure that the former colonies would be thrilled to once again be judged by foreign courts.

(3)(0)
Anonymous

Exactly. These mouth-foamers live in an absolute dream world if they think that our former colonies would like to fall under the rule of the bastard child of the British Empire.

On the EU law q, of course it would still be relevant unless you are the sort who likes to hide under a rock, pull up the drawbridge, and pretend that the rest of the world doesn’t have an effect on the UK.

We’d still be trading with the EU. And when Scotland then inevitably left the UK and rejoined the EU, that would mean a major trading partner with shared infrastructure subject to… you guessed it… EU law.

But I don’t understand the fuss. I loved EU Law and found the fact it was very political made it easier than the more dry law modules like equity and trusts for example.

(5)(0)
Anonymous

Many of them still are.

Next time you’re in London pop into Court 3 at the Supreme Court and count the flags!

(2)(2)
Laird Lyle of the Isles

Ah ’tis the woe of man that he forgets the reason for the EU: to forge political and economic ties to ultimately bind us so the horrors of two world wars might be spared us and we might forge a trading block to vie with, America Russia, etc.

Build bridges, no walls. And all this has the air of political argy bargy, as the member states deliberate over some very important issues like European border defence issues, NATO and the Russian Federation, immigration, fishery and agricultural policy.

England alone against the world. Ah dinnae think so. The Empire btw is no entirely though. The Privy Council is the final court of appeal for 31 jurisdictions and 12 independent nations including one very wealthy Muslim nation.

Bridges: no wall, my Sassenach childer

(2)(1)
Anonymous

Best post I’ve seen from you yet Lord Lyle.

Leaving the EU is all about pandering to jingoistic ignorance (look at the “personalities” involved – Grayling, Gove, Farrage, Borris the Dorris, IBS).. The sound of Rule Britannia ringing in their ears and the Jack flying aloft… “Putting the Great back into Great Britain” (ignorant naturally of the fact that Great is a topographical epithet not an hubristic one).. Bells…

God forbid the UK swallows it but it’s considerable risk that they might 🙁

(6)(2)
Laird Lyle of the Isles

The £ has dropped against the $ again as Boris weighs in with the exits.

The Indians threaten to relocate their business to Europe.

Cushty

(0)(0)
Anonymous

*waves at Boris*
That’s right because the UK’s exit will be so seismic that the bottom will fall out of the whole arrangement. They simply will not be able to cope without us (just like they didn’t prior to 1973 !?) and implosion is a given….

(0)(1)
Not Amused

I only respond in passing to highlight just how rude the remain people have become.

Clearly I stated Brexit was irrelevant. So clearly I am referencing other causes of pending EU collapse. A cursory glance at the Dax or Cac will show you the trouble the supposedly strong EU economies are in. A glance at youth unemployment figures will inform you of the state of the rest.

The EU seems to me to be in a very real danger of collapse. The Euro is a failed project. Greece is not solved. Spain, Italy, Portugal and then France will all follow it relatively soon.

I am a strong believer in a fully federal United States of Europe. However given this EU project looks to me doomed to fail. Given we are currently paying for it (along with the Germans) and that the cost of it goes up by on average a billion a year. Given that in the days before it collapses a *colossal* amount of money will be pumped in to it by the same incompetent loons who currently run it. I am very keen to keep my tax money as far away as possible.

Then we can try again (and I don’t think anyone would design the current setup).

(3)(3)
Patriot

So you are for giving up your country in return to become an EU State. Fuck off you fucking traitor!

(1)(1)
EU lover is a Commie lover

You mean a strong believer in the Soviet European Union.

(0)(0)
Laird Lyle of the Isles

I am grateful my learned friend Anonymous 8.23am.

Jingoism, xenophobia, national pride is exactly what the EU seeks to eradicate.

There are arguments on both sides, but leaving England, isolated, surrounded by hostile Gaelic nations and a contemptuous Europe doesnae seem politic in my highland eyes.

Building a stronger UK with our common heritage, warts N all, and forging ties with Europe , our aul allies, Norway, Holland, France, Poland, warts N all is better than building a wall around ourself that invites siege and war.

The Empire is over. We need to unite, not fracture.

(2)(3)

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