European Business Law: Understanding the Fundamentals (Coursera)

European Business Law: Understanding the Fundamentals (Coursera)
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European Business Law: Understanding the Fundamentals (Coursera)
The European Union is one of the world’s largest and most important economies. This five week course is the first in a series of three that will provide students with an insight into European Business Law. The series ranges from considering the basic structures and principles of the European Union to focusing on various specialized areas of law. Each course will give the students an understanding of the laws and policies that regulate the internal market of European Union, as well as relevant case law and useful inputs from leading practitioners in the field.

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At the end of this course series, you will have a basic understanding of how to:

• Navigate EU legal sources

• Understand relevant laws and regulations governing the internal European Union market

• Apply the fundamental principles of EU law within the EU legal framework

• Utilize the rules of freedom of movement and their impacts on trade in the EU

• Relate EU law with national laws

• Understand EU policies and their influence on foreign trade and investment

About the Series

In the first course, Understanding the Fundamentals, we will examine the core structures and principles of the European Union as well as the main sources of law. In the second course, Doing business in Europe, we will focus on the main laws that regulate various aspects of establishing and running a business within the European Union. In the final course, Competing in Europe, we will go into more depth about how to compete on the internal market and protect your brand, product or invention.

Syllabus and Format

Each course consists of a number of modules where one module represents about one week of work. A module includes a number of lectures and readings, and finishes with a voluntary assessment – a quiz, a small peer graded assignment or a case law review. The assessments are intended to encourage learning and ensure that you understand the material of the course. Participating in forum discussions is voluntary.

Course I - Understanding the Fundamentals

Module 1. Introduction to EU law

Module 2. Legal Method and Sources

Module 3. Constitutional Freedoms and Fundamental principles

Module 4. Freedom of Movement

Module 5. The External Dimension

Course II - Doing Business in Europe

Module 1. Making Business Transactions

Module 2. Establishing a Company

Module 3. Employing and Working in Europe

Module 4. Paying Taxes and Complying with Environmental Standards

Module 5. Case Clinic

Module 6. Resolving Cross-border Disputes

Course III - Competing in Europe

Module 1. Trademarks as Essential Assets

Module 2. Defending Patents

Module 3. Competition: Illegal Agreements

Module 4. Competition: Abuse of Dominance and Mergers

Module 5. Advocacy and Legal Writing

Module 6. Selling to the State and State Aid

Course 1 of 3 in the European Business Law Specialization



Introduction to EU law

Welcome to the first week of Understanding the Fundamentals. This first module will help you to build a solid foundation for the coming lectures on EU law. The module provides a brief introduction to the history and the institutions of the EU, as well as the judicial branch i.e. the Court of Justice of the EU. The module will also go into some detail about the most fundamental EU treaties, namely the Treaty on the European Union (TEU) and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).


Sources and Method

The second module will give you a practical introduction to the legal sources and method of EU law. It will provide you with some skills that are crucial when dealing with EU law, such as navigating the vast databases of official publications, legislation and case law. The module provides an overview of the available online resources and EU legal databases. It provides suggestions on how to search the official journals, including the case law of the ECJ. In addition, the module explains what treaties, regulations and directives actually are, and where to find them online. Keep in mind that the module can be used as reference if you continue your studies of European Business Law.


Fundamental Principles

In the third module you will learn about the fundamental principles and constitutional foundations of EU Law. The dynamic and interaction of the national law of the Member States and the EU will be covered in some detail. This includes the three categories of competence – exclusive, shared and supporting. The effects of the exercise of competence are discussed, as well as relevant case law. A brief historical background is given to the principle of fundamental rights along with its application in contemporary Europe. Finally some of the main principles of EU law are discussed, including the principles of proportionality, non-discrimination and legal certainty.


Enforcement of EU Law and Judicial Review

The fourth module covers the enforcement of EU law and judicial review. In the previous lectures, you have learned that the EU confers certain rights on individuals and companies and that the EU has certain powers conferred to it by the Member States. This module examines the essential question of how you – as an individual or as a company – are able to enforce your rights at a national level and how you can challenge a legislation through which the EU has acted outside of its conferred powers.


The Economic Freedoms

Module 5 introduces the four freedoms, including free movement of services, goods, persons and capital. These economic freedoms are at the very heart of EU Law and crucial to understanding the law from a business perspective. The module considers the relevant legal provisions and the key case law. It continues to introduce the right to establishment and discusses the harmonisation of EU law in the national law of member states. In the end of this module you will be given the chance to do a peer graded assignment and earn an honors certificate. You will find the assignment under "Assessments."


The External Dimension

Module 6 focuses on the common European foreign policy and its institutional setup. This is a complex field where the policies of the individual Member States and the EU overlap and interact. The external dimension is important for anyone conducting international trade or upholding relations with the EU. The division of competence is discussed in the module, followed by a review of the seven main EU institutions and players and their respective role relating to foreign policy. The module gives a thorough overview of the six fields in the external dimension of EU Law: Common commercial policy; EU development policy; Foreign and Security Policy; Security and Defence Policy; Energy Market; Freedom, Security and Justice. Finally, the module gives a brief history of the EEA Agreement, as well as its application.

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