Introduction to LawOrganization logo: Wageningen University & Research

About this course

Want to know how law could affect product innovation, safety or quality? Why the European Union (EU) regulates agriculture, climate, water, energy, waste, consumer relations, and a variety of other fields? Or how the Member States transpose EU law and accomplish the policy goals at the national and local level? Wondering how Urgenda managed to beat the Dutch government in court? Or how could international organisations ensure the biodiversity protection of the seas? Look no further.

Law forms the visible, and often invisible, backdrop to our societal practices, rules and values. In order to provide effective answers to questions related to food, environmental and technological regulation, it is essential to have an understanding of the laws that govern these processes. This course provides students without a prior legal background with a well-rounded introduction to legal concepts, rules, principles, and institutional frameworks in law-making and law enforcement. Specifically, you will be provided with a general introduction to law at the national, the EU, and International law. In terms of methodology, the course covers essential legal skills to students willing to do research projects directly and indirectly related to law: (A) legal database research, (B) case-law analysis, (C) legal argumentation and the role of scientific evidence, (D) legal writing and legislative drafting, and (E) qualitative and quantitative methods for legal research.

Learning outcomes

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:

  • identify the constitutive elements of a law; sources and areas of law;
  • contrast the role of different institutions in law-making and law-enforcement;
  • compare how national, European, and international laws are used as an instrument to promote societal changes;
  • analyse relevant sources of law by using the relevant databases and applying them to solve legal cases;
  • distinguish and apply different types of legal argumentation and the role of scientific evidence in legal decisions;
  • apply qualitative and quantitative methods used in legal research;
  • critically assessed the legal reasoning adopted by lawmakers and courts;
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