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LLM in European Law

The LLM in European Law at Edinburgh 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.

Students in a seminar

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.

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 UK and European levels, in combination with the strategic position of Edinburgh, make the LLM in European Law at the University of Edinburgh 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, Edinburgh Law School has a thriving alumni community based in Brussels.

The UK’s 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 Edinburgh 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.

Edinburgh Law School is a world-leading centre for the study of European Union Law. In 1968, we established the UK’s first research centre dedicated to European affairs, the Europa Institute.

Today, the Europa Institute continues to be one of the UK’s leading centres in the study of the institutions, policies, and law of the European Union, and you will be taught by several members of the institute as an LLM in European Law student.

Find out more about the Europa Institute

As the Scottish capital and host to the Scottish parliament and government, Edinburgh provides a unique perspective on the multilevel governance framework that defines European integration. This link is reinforced by the public engagement with Scottish, UK, and European institutions in which the academic staff of the LLM in European Law are regularly involved, providing advice or offering important perspectives on law and policy based on their research.

The Europa Institute regularly hosts lectures by high-profile speakers – high-level judges, politicians, and academics – providing our students with unique opportunities to hear first-hand from those involved in shaping European law and European integration and to interact with people working at the heart of EU law in the UK and across Europe.

Contact us

If you have any questions about the LLM in European Law please don't hesitate to contact us.

This programme can be taken full-time over one year, or part-time over two years (due to current UKVI regulations, the part-time programme is only available to UK and EU students). 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. 

Full programme details are available on the University Degree Regulations and Programmes of Study website.

View full programme and course information for the LLM in European Law

Courses shown below are scheduled to run in the 2019/20 academic year and listed below for illustrative purposes. Depending on demand, space on specific courses may be limited.  

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 UK 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 [1999] 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 UK's 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 UK, 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:

    1. 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.
    2. 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.

You will have the option to take between 0 and 40 credits of courses from different subject areas offered by the Law School, depending on availability and with the express permission of the Programme Director. Depending on demand, space on courses outside the core courses may be limited.

Full programme details, including core and optional courses is available on the University Degree Regulations and Programmes of Study website.

View full programme and course information for the LLM in European Law

Having successfully completed 120 credit points of courses within the LLM, you will be ready to move onto a single piece of independent and in-depth research. The 10,000 word dissertation allows you to focus on a preferred topic from within the field of European law normally based on a subject you have studied in one of your courses during the programme.

You will be assigned an academic dissertation supervisor who will provide you with support and guidance while you prepare and write your dissertation.

The dissertation is a challenging but rewarding endeavour, asking you to demonstrate a comprehensive grasp of the relevant literature and an ability to engage critically with a range of sources, drawing on the skills and knowledge you have developed during the course of the programme. Students are encouraged to show originality and evidence of independent thinking, whether in terms of the material used, or the manner in which it is presented.

The dissertation is written in the summer months (April to August) after the taught courses are successfully completed.

Contact us

If you have any questions about the LLM in European Law please don't hesitate to contact us.

Staff teaching on the core courses of the LLM in European Law are experts in a range of legal disciplines and often engage in research-led teaching.

Dr Katerina Kalaitzaki - Programme Director 2019/20

Katerina Kalaitzaki is an Early Career Fellow in EU Law and joined Edinburgh Law School in September 2019. She is also an accredited mediator in the UK since April 2019 and a non-practising lawyer (Cyprus Legal Board) since September 2015.

Katerina’s research interests lie in the area of EU citizenship and EU fundamental principles and values. Current projects deal with the development and/or potential use of these concepts, including the rule of law principle, during periods of crises such as Brexit and the rule of law crisis.

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Robert Lane's principal areas of interest lie within the various strands of EC law. They include in particular the constitutional and administrative law of the European Union and the European Community, the methods and reasoning of the European Court of Justice, and the law of the internal market and EC competition law.

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Arianna Andreangeli's research interests lie in the area of EU and domestic competition law, both substantive and procedural. She is especially interested in exploring how the competition rules can be effectively applied so as to safeguard genuine rivalry in the market while safeguarding the concerned actors' economic freedom and incentive to innovate and invest.

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Paolo Cavaliere joined the Law School from September 2014 as a lecturer in Digital Media and IT Law. His main interests in research include the discipline of pluralism and diversity in the media, e-democracy and the relationship between new media and politics, regulation of audiovisual industries and digital media.

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Navraj Singh Ghaleigh has been at Edinburgh Law School since 2003. Previously a barrister in London and Lecturer at King's College London, he undertook his graduate work at the University of Cambridge, the European University Institute (Florence) and the University of California, Berkeley (Fulbright Scholar). His research and teaching have two main strands: Climate change law principally as a matter of public international law but addressing its relationship with other bodies of law, levels of law and disciplines; Electoral law, especially party and election funding, direct democracy and referendums and the implications of new technologies for the electoral process.

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Rachael Craufurd Smith is a Reader at Edinburgh Law School, specialising in the regulation of the mass media and culture, with a specific focus on European Union law. She is a qualified solicitor and has worked in the International and Policy and Planning Departments of the BBC. Rachael also gained practical experience working in the Internal Market DG of the European Commission and has held University and College posts at the University of Oxford.

Rachael headed the University of Edinburgh team working on the EU FP7 funded Mediadem project, exploring how best to promote free and independent media across Europe. This helped to lay the ground work for EU proposals regarding the independence of media regulatory bodies. She has advised the Council of Europe on journalism ethics, been called to give evidence on media matters to the House of Lords Communications Committee and promoted greater transparency of media ownership in Europe. Rachael was a co-founding editor of The Journal of Media Law, launched by Hart Publishing in 2009 and co-authored with Eric Barendt, Jason Bosland and Lesley Hitchens Media Law, Text, cases and Materials (Pearson) in 2014. She has written widely on media regulation and cultural policy, with a particular interest in the impact of new technology on established regulatory systems.

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Dr Leandro Mancano is Lecturer of EU Law. Leandro’s main research interests lie in EU Constitutional Law, EU Fundamental Rights Law, the law and policy of the EU Area of Freedom Security and Justice. He teaches and is courses organizer of courses in EU Law (Hons), EU Constitutional Law (LLM) and EU Fundamental Rights Law (LLM).

Leandro’s publications focus on the interaction amongst different areas of law and policy, such as crime, migration, and human rights. His first monograph analyses the legislative and judicial approach of the EU in the fields of substantive and procedural criminal law, immigration, citizenship and free movement.

Before joining the University of Edinburgh, Leandro received his PhD from Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna (Pisa). He has been visiting researcher at Queen Mary University of London, Université Libre de Bruxelles and the University of Copenhagen. Leandro is a member of the European Criminal Law Academic Network (ECLAN).

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Judith Rauhofer is a Lecturer in IT Law at the University of Edinburgh and an Associate Director of the Centre for Studies of Intellectual Property and Technology Law (SCRIPT). Her research interests include the commercial and fundamental rights aspects of online privacy and electronic surveillance, data protection, information security and all areas of e-commerce and internet law and policy.

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Lorna Richardson joined the Law School after seven years practising as a commercial litigator with major Scottish law firms. Her particular interests include contract law, particularly in relation to formation, interpretation, and breach. In her time in practice Lorna acted in a number of contract dispute cases which generated significant comment. Lorna is also interested in contract law in a comparative context.

Watch Lorna Richardson speak to the SULNE Network about the impact of Brexit and EU Rights in relation to consumer rights.

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The staff teaching on this programme are subject to change for 2020/21. Staff listed as on sabbatical will not be available to teach for the duration of their sabbatical.

Contact us

If you have any questions about the LLM in European Law please don't hesitate to contact us.

Find out what it's like to study for an LLM in European Law at Edinburgh Law School from our current and former students.


Maria, Austria

Maria graduated from the University of Edinburgh with an LLM in European Law in 2018. In this video she talks about her experience of studying for an LLM at Edinburgh Law School and the experience of living in Edinburgh.

Allison talks about her experience of studying on the LLM in European Law and life in Edinburgh.

Daire graduated with an LLM in European Law from the University of Edinburgh in 2018. In this short video he talks about the experience of living in Edinburgh and studying for an LLM at Edinburgh Law School.

Find out why Jan chose this world-leading LLM in European Law and how his experience has shaped his future.

Contact us

If you have any questions about the LLM in European Law please don't hesitate to contact us.

We recommend that you apply as early as possible; this is particularly important for students holding conditional offers (for example, you may need to allow sufficient time to take an English language test) and for overseas students who may need time to satisfy necessary visa requirements (for further, country-specific information, please consult the website of the University's Edinburgh Global) and/or to apply for University accommodation.

Apply now for September 2020 entry

Entry requirements

We require a minimum 2:1 honours degree from a UK university, or its international equivalent, in law. We may also consider a UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in a social science subject. Entry to this programme is competitive. Meeting minimum requirements for consideration does not guarantee an offer of study.

If you have a non-UK degree, please check whether your degree qualification is equivalent to the minimum standard before applying.

Check your degree

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 UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). The UK Government's website provides a list of majority English speaking countries.

View the UKVI 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.

English language support

The University runs a series of programmes for English Language Education, including a pre-sessional English Language Programme intended to strengthen your English Language skills before you start your programme of study.

Find out more about English language support offered by the University

The application deadline for September 2020 entry to this programme is 30 June 2020.

We aim to review applications and make selection decisions throughout the cycle and we monitor application numbers carefully to ensure we are able to accommodate all those who receive offers. It may therefore be necessary to close a programme earlier than the published deadline and if this is the case we will place a four-week warning notice on the relevant programme page.

Please note that the deadline for meeting the conditions of an offer is 15 August 2020.

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 (please upload the full transcript showing results from all years of study).
  • 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 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

Please note that if you receive an offer of a place to study the LLM in European Law and later decide that you do not want to accept your place, we do not allow deferrals. In this case you would have to reapply for the following academic year.

You can find full and detailed application guidance on the University's website.

Find out more about applying to the University of Edinburgh

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.

University of Edinburgh admissions terms and conditions

Apply now for September 2020 entry

Contact us

If you have any questions about applying to the LLM in European Law please don't hesitate to contact us.