Legal Theory

Study programme

The Master programme consists of three tracks: namely, a Legal Theory and Philosophy Track, a Socio-Legal Track, and an Individual Track. The compulsory components of these three tracks will be in English. Students who seek to pursue their own specialisation can opt for the Individual Track. If you choose to take this Master programme, you will develop your skills in academic thinking, will learn to reflect on law, will be challenged intellectually, and will conduct research. If you decide to continue your study abroad or at a different Dutch university for a period of time, the subjects taken could be included in this Master. The Master programme is highly suitable for students who wish to pursue a scientific career.

Your Master and the review committee

In consultation with the master coordinator, you will design the master programme of your choice. After this consultation, you will have to account for the composition of your programme for the master Legal Theory in writing. This document will be reviewed by a committee. The committee will pass judgement on the quality and consistency of your study programme. In this way, we can guarantee the continuing high standard of the Master programme.

    • Block 1

      • The course is set up so that students learn by doing.  It steadily works towards the students producing their own research-based policy report as a way of experiencing working as a legal researcher in an interdisciplinary team.

        15 ECTS

    • Block 2

      • 5 ECTS

      • 5 ECTS

    • Block 3

      • 5 ECTS

      • This course engages students in a reflection on two developments that have led to a fundamental tension in the functioning of today’s rule of law institutions. The first development consists of the increase in numbers of legal actors in the national, European and inter- and transnational legal context. They are involved in forming and upholding the rule of law, and they produce law on the different legal levels they work at. They have constructed and contribute to what is called a multilevel legal order of increased complexity, complicated hierarchies, and maybe – depending on the point of view – diminished efficacy when it comes to securing constraints on powerful institutions. The second development is the increase in numbers of non-legal actors who are involved in producing official law, but also ‘soft law’ or ‘informal norms’. These non-legal actors most of the time may only aim to secure their private and organisational interests. However, their involvement in the rule making process is indispensable, even if they lack democratic legitimacy. We may think of NGO’s with ideological interests, lobbyists and large companies with economic interests, and local groups and clans in developing countries. These two developments of ‘more law’ on the one hand and ‘more societal involvement’ on the other hand, should ideally strengthen the rule of law. However, this seems not to be the case, to the contrary. What can and should be done about the ‘watering down’ of the rule of law in the global context?

        5 ECTS

    • Block 4

      • The teaching method will be inductive and bottom-up: ‘learning by experience’. It means that students will have to explore the 10 philosophical issues while studying relevant literature and by presenting and exchanging theirs finding in the seminar. The discussions will be introduced, prepared and commented upon by the lecturers. By doing so, the lecturers will offer the participants a philosophical method aimed at bringing to the surface implicit normative assumptions within a human rights discourse. They will also offer them the means to question these assumptions.

        5 ECTS

      • one or two optional courses.

    • Block 5

      • Erasmus University Rotterdam combines education. At the end of your LL.M. programme phase you will be introduced to research that is being conducted inside the university. On top of that you will take your own first steps on the trail that we call science by writing a thesis.

    • Block 1

      • The course is set up so that students learn by doing.  It steadily works towards the students producing their own research-based policy report as a way of experiencing working as a legal researcher in an interdisciplinary team.

    • Block 2

      • 5 ECTS

      • 5 ECTS

    • Block 3

      • The first 8 classes are an introduction to Anthropology of Law by studying Australian Aboriginals from the perspective of legal pluralism. In the second part of the course we analyse four case studies, for which students may propose topics.

        5 ECTS

      •  

        This course engages students in a reflection on two developments that have led to a fundamental tension in the functioning of today’s rule of law institutions. The first development consists of the increase in numbers of legal actors in the national, European and inter- and transnational legal context. They are involved in forming and upholding the rule of law, and they produce law on the different legal levels they work at. They have constructed and contribute to what is called a multilevel legal order of increased complexity, complicated hierarchies, and maybe – depending on the point of view – diminished efficacy when it comes to securing constraints on powerful institutions. The second development is the increase in numbers of non-legal actors who are involved in producing official law, but also ‘soft law’ or ‘informal norms’. These non-legal actors most of the time may only aim to secure their private and organisational interests. However, their involvement in the rule making process is indispensable, even if they lack democratic legitimacy. We may think of NGO’s with ideological interests, lobbyists and large companies with economic interests, and local groups and clans in developing countries. These two developments of ‘more law’ on the one hand and ‘more societal involvement’ on the other hand, should ideally strengthen the rule of law. However, this seems not to be the case, to the contrary. What can and should be done about the ‘watering down’ of the rule of law in the global context?
         
        In this course, we will analyse and critically reflect on these developments with the help of theoretical concepts and insights from legal scholarship, legal and political theory, and legal sociology. We will illustrate concepts and developments with several cases and social problems debated in today’s legal world.

    • Block 4 (2 out of 3)

      • Socio-legal studies comprises all legal research in which empirical investigations into actual human behaviours are prominent. Socio-legal studies can be quantitative or qualitative, and can employ survey methods, internet questionnaires, direct observations, open or structured interviews etcetera. They can be situated in the discipline of sociology, anthropology and/or psychology, and can be very empirical or rather theoretical. Socio-legal studies is very different from classical doctrinal research, and differs from legal philosophy and legal theory.
         
        This course is meant for master students who want to deepen their knowledge on one specific topic from a socio-legal perspective, who want to know all about the promises of socio-legal research methodologies, or for those students who would like to delve into one of the ‘classics’ like Max Weber, Emile Durkheim, Bronislaw Malinowski or Max Gluckman. They can use this course as an elective course or as preparation for their master thesis. Student and (assistant/associate-) professor decide on the relevant literature, depending on the interests of the student and the availability of one of our professors at STeM.
         

      • one or two optional courses.

    • Block 5

      • Erasmus University Rotterdam combines education. At the end of your LL.M. programme phase you will be introduced to research that is being conducted inside the university. On top of that you will take your own first steps on the trail that we call science by writing a thesis.

    • Block 1

      • The course is set up so that students learn by doing.  It steadily works towards the students producing their own research-based policy report as a way of experiencing working as a legal researcher in an interdisciplinary team.

    • Block 2

      • 5 ECTS

      • 5 ECTS

    • Block 3

    • Block 4

    • Block 5

      • Erasmus University Rotterdam combines education. At the end of your LL.M. programme phase you will be introduced to research that is being conducted inside the university. On top of that you will take your own first steps on the trail that we call science by writing a thesis.