Courses

Have a look at the courses of Year 1 and 2 of the Legal Research programme. 

Compulsory Courses Year 1

Dynamics I: Constitutional Law and Administrative Law

The theme of this three-part course is the dynamics of law in a European and international context. The central theme is the legal intertwining of the national, European and international legal orders.
The first part of the course (Dynamics 1) is devoted to European Constitutional law and European Administrative law. The first half of this course provides introduction to both themes, and the second half is more research oriented and focuses on the implication of especially Europeanization for constitutional and administrative law.
Place of the course within the curriculum:

  • Compulsory course in the master Legal Research

Dynamics II: Criminal Law, Human Rights and International Law

The theme of this two-part course is the dynamics of law in a European and international context, the central issue being the legal intertwining of the national, European and international legal orders. In the second part of the course, the focus is on course work, or research, that the student will have to do on the implications of the Europeanization (and internationalization) of criminal law and related human rights issues. The format is that of lectures and supervised meetings (tutorials) where the teachers and students discuss the work of the students and the students later present their research.
Place of the course within the curriculum:

  • Compulsory course in the master Legal Research

Dynamics III: Private Law

The theme of this course is the dynamics of private law in a European and international context, the central issue being the legal intertwining of the national, European and international legal orders. There will be lectures on the interaction between national private law, private international law, international private law and European private law. The central question is what law is to be applied in private law relationships in an international context. The focus lies on the law of obligations and thus on contractual and non-contractual relationships. The second part of this course is more research oriented. A number of different topics of International, European and (trans) national private law will be discussed and students will prepare, write and present a paper about a subject of private law that is related to a topic covered in one of the lecturers.
Place of the course within the curriculum:

  • Compulsory course in the master Legal Research

Methodology I: Internal Perspective

This course addresses the methodology connected with the classic doctrinal approach to legal research. This classic approach concerns the construction, evaluation and reform of laws and legal concepts on the basis of an analysis of authoritative legal sources (e.g. legislation, case law) and academic legal literature. This approach to legal research is characterised as ‘internal’, meaning that legal scholars consider their subject from a similar point of view as the professionals who engage in this subject (e.g. legislators, judges).
The aim of this course is to introduce the participants to current debates regarding the nature of internal legal scholarship and to provide them with knowledge and tools for their own research projects, in particular regarding the argumentative aspect of legal doctrinal research and the methods for analysing legal sources and regarding scientific integrity and the handling of ethical dilemmas in research environments.

This course consists of three parts.

I – General reflection: the nature of legal scholarship in a changing world (three sessions)
The general reflective part of the course offers an introduction into the nature of legal scholarship and its development in an evolving legal, societal and academic context.

II – Legal scholarship as an argumentative discipline (two sessions)
The second part of the course focuses on the role of legal argumentation in legal doctrinal research. This part of the course provides insight into the possibilities for approaching legal reasoning as a method and an object of legal research.

III – Methods of legal doctrinal research (two sessions)
In this part of the course, the participants are made familiar with the guidelines and best practices regarding the methods of legal doctrinal research.
Place of the course within the curriculum:

  • Compulsory course in the master Legal Research

Methodology II: Comparative Perspective

For legal researchers, the comparative law method is an important research tool. This course deals with a number of aspects of this methodology, both theoretical and practical. In order to generate reliable research results based on comparative law, many questions rise. Which jurisdiction will I include in my research? Which sources must I consult? Within the jurisdiction researched what is the relationship between legal literature and case law, between federal law and the laws of the EU Member States? How do judiciary systems differ? Is there any relevant EU law or is the EU competent in the relevant field? How do I translate certain (legal) terms? These and many other questions will be dealt with during the course.

In the methodological part of the course the focus is one issues directly related to the method of comparative law. Is there one method of comparative law or multiple methods? Does the method(s) depend upon the field of law being researched? What belongs to the core of comparative methodology?
In addition, students will present the chosen research question of the students. The research question must be related to comparative law and will be presented. Both students and the lecturer will give feedback on the presentation and its contents. A third part will deal with a variety of comparative law issues; knowledge of particular jurisdictions, for example, Chinese law, fields of law, for example, comparative criminal law or specific research fields. Guest lecturers will be invited to provide specialized knowledge.

Approach
The course will have a seminar character: active participation is required. Obligatory literature and assignments will be stated on Blackboard. Students will choose to research a specific research question and write a (preferably publishable) paper that must be submitted by the end of the course. Students have a wide degree of choice for this paper. The paper may be on an issue of methodology, for example, containing an analysis of the justifications made in recent PhD’s or concern the use of questionnaires in comparative legal studies or contain a comparative analysis of a particular problem or aspect of the law of at least two jurisdictions. Assessment will be on the assignments (15%), the presentation (20%) and the paper (65%).

Place of the course within the curriculum:

  • Compulsory course in the master Legal Research

Methodology III: External Perspective

In this course we will focus on how to develop a research design with a methodology that fits the kind of questions you want to answer. In the Methodology I and II courses, you have considered legal traditions and the use of sources for legal research and comparative work.. In this course you will learn the basics of qualitative empirical legal research, and you will learn how to deal with quantitative empirical research reports for legal research. We will do exercises with the reconstruction of qualitative (and quantitative) empirical research designs, you will develop a legal evaluation research design and finally, you will develop a research that fits one of your LRM research projects while using an external perspective. Here you are free to choose a relevant research subject of your liking. This course will help you find research outcomes that are scientifically defensible from (qualitative or quantitative) empirical research perspectives. We will also do some exercises with ethical issues for researchers.

Please note we cannot offer all possible external approaches (e.g. forensics or literature or linguistics) during this course.
Place of the course within the curriculum:

  • Compulsory course in the master Legal Research

body { font-size: 9pt;

Methodology IV: Law as an Academic Discipline, Science and Humanities

Law as an Academic Discipline, Science and Humanities is a reflective course developed in the ‘jurisprudence’ department of Utrecht University and deals with the study of law as an academic pursuit. Does such a thing as legal science exist and if so, what is it? How does the study of law compare with other academic disciplines? What are the respective objects and methods? These questions are the focus of this course, which will be dealt with by reading and discussing classical texts in the philosophy of science, the humanities, and, of course, law.
Place of the course within the curriculum:

  • Compulsory course in the master Legal Research

Research Project I: Internal and/or Comparative Perspective

This is one of two research projects which have to be done by research students.

Research Project I
This research project should be linked to the insights derived from the course Methodology of legal research I: internal perspectives and / or from the course Methodology of legal research II: comparative perspective. The research project has to show the student can successfully integrate the methodological requirements of an internal and / or comparative perspective in legal research.
The research projects is carried out under the supervision of a professor, an associate professor or an experienced assistant professor or postdoc. The topic can be devised at the student's initiative and the supervisor can be approached by the student.
To develop a research project, the student will consult with the supervisor he/she has found, to formulate a research question which will then be further elaborated. Senior researchers connected with the research programmes may also suggest topics for research, a list of which will be made available during the annual research project meeting.
As a research project, normally a paper is written (indicatively 10,000-15,000 words (20 to 25 pages)), but different forms are possible. For further information, the LRM information guide can be consulted. The LRM information guide also contains more information about the choice of language and the writing process.

Place of the course within the curriculum:

• Compulsory course in the master Legal Research body { font-size: 9pt;

Academic Writing and Presentation Skills

1. Academic Writing Skills:
This course is designed to set you on the path towards writing clear, accessible and well-structured academic texts in English. After an introduction to the principles of clear writing, you will practice applying these principles and will receive feedback.

2. Academic Presentation in English:
This course will help you design and deliver well-introduced, well-structured, fully audience-focused oral presentations. Where appropriate, we will also focus on aspects of language, body language and nervousness. On the principle that clarity is key to professionalism, we will stress the need to avoid inflated diction and unnecessary jargon.
Although these subjects are compulsory, no credits will be given for it: the courses are intended as a foundation subject that will benefit you for the rest of the Master's programme.
Place of the course within the curriculum:

  • Compulsory non-legal course in the master Legal Research

Compulsory Courses Year 2

Research Project II: External Perspective

This is one of two research projects which have to be done by research students.

Research project II
This research project should be linked to the insights derived from the courses Methodology III: ‘External perspective’ or Methodology IV: Law as an Academic Discipline. The research project has to show the student can successfully integrate the methodological perspectives and requirements central to these courses in legal research.
The research projects is carried out under the supervision of a professor, an associate professor or an experienced assistant professor or postdoc. The topic can be devised at the student's initiative and the supervisor can be approached by the student.
To develop a research project, the student will consult with the supervisor he/she has found, to formulate a research question which will then be further elaborated. Senior researchers connected with the research programmes may also suggest topics for research, a list of which will be made available during the annual research project meeting.
As a research project, normally a paper is written (indicatively 10,000-15,000 words (20 to 25 pages)), but different forms are possible. For further information, the LRM information guide can be consulted. The LRM information guide also contains more information about the choice of language and the writing process.
Place of the course within the curriculum:

  • Compulsory course in the master Legal Research

body { font-size: 9pt;

Thesis Legal Research

The thesis is the last requirement of the Legal Research Masters programme. Therefore, the candidate should show a great deal of independence whilst engaging in original research up to a level that resembles publications in a double-blind refereed academic journal as closely as possible.The thesis is carried out under the supervision of an experienced professor or associate professor. In consultation with the tutor a topic can be devised at the student's initiative and a supervisor can be approached by the student. The co-ordinator of the Legal Research Masters should be informed about the topic and the supervisor as soon as they are known.To develop a thesis, you will consult with the supervisor you have found, to formulate a research question which will then be further elaborated.The thesis takes the form of a paper of 30 ECTS (indicatively 80 to 100 pages). The thesis should be written in English unless the supervisor agrees with a thesis in another language. In this case an English summary should be added.For further information see the LRM information guide.
Place of the course within the curriculum:

  • Compulsory course in the master Legal Research

Elective Courses Year 2

Elective Course Legal Research 1

One of three courses that, after consulting with the tutor and with permission of the programme coordinator, are chosen in accordance with the academic profile and programme of the student.

Elective Course Legal Research 2

One of three courses that, after consulting with the tutor and with permission of the programme coordinator, are chosen in accordance with the academic profile and programme of the student.

Elective Course Legal Research 3

One of three courses that, after consulting with the tutor and with permission of the programme coordinator, are chosen in accordance with the academic profile and programme of the student.

Internship Legal Research

For the Legal Resarch Master, it is possible to do an internship as part of your ‘profile area’, i.e. as one of the three electives. As such it is possible to obtain 7.5 ECTS for your internship, provided that the following conditions are met:

  • The internship is relevant for the development of your research profile;
  • The Dean of the Legal Research Master (who also acts as coordinator for the internships) approves of the use of the internship as an elective. To obtain approval, you should complete the internship approval form (goedkeuringsformulier), which can be downloaded from the LRM Blackboard page, and send it to the Dean of the Legal Research Master by e-mail (Ms prof. dr. J.H. (Janneke) Gerards, j.h.gerards@uu.nl).
  • The minimum duration of the internship is 6 weeks full-time or 30 days part-time (with a weekly minimum of 3 days’ work);
  • You receive supervision from the internship location and from a member of the academic staff of Utrecht University (to be approved by the Dean of the Legal Research Master);
  • At the end of your internship, your supervisor at the internship location completes the evaluation form (evaluatieformulier), available on Blackboard;
  • You write an internship report (minimum 1500 words, maximum 2000 words) describing your activities and learning experiences, and connecting your internship to your research profile, to be assessed by your supervisor from Utrecht University.