Teaching EU Migration Law Through Clinical Legal Education
EU Migration Law course is offered to students who undertake postgraduate studies at the University of Kent in Brussels.
The course is targeted towards students who are interested in undertaking a highly specialized course in EU law while at the same time developing practical skills and gaining valuable work experience. The course also aims to expose students to the benefits of volunteering for the benefit of vulnerable people and encourages their continued participation in volunteer work as part of their life-long learning process.
The course aims to provide students with the opportunity to study EU law in action by teaching EU migration law in the context of the EU Rights Clinic which enables students – under the supervision of qualified lawyers – to provide legal assistance to real-life clients who face problems in exercising their right to free movement and who are unable to afford the services of a lawyer.
The course takes the form of two teaching components comprising a total of 48 hours of classroom-based teaching and a work placement scheme comprising at least 24 hours of work experience.
- The first component will provide an introduction to the law governing regular migration within the European Union, by focusing on the free movement of EU citizens and their family members, as well as the rules governing regular entry and stay of third country nationals in the European Union. This component will trace the evolution of EU migration law from the original Treaty of Rome and the economic freedoms, through to its extension to free movement beyond the economic sphere following the creation of EU citizenship under the Maastricht Treaty, the establishment of the Schengen area and its eventual emergence as a major component of the European area of Freedom, Justice and Security under the Lisbon Treaty. It will examine the main EU instruments which have been adopted throughout the years to give further substance to Treaty rights, while devoting particular attention on how the national authorities have fared in the implementation of these rules by EU member states and how their discretion in the field of migration has been shaped by the significant case law of the EU Court of Justice. The course will also provide insights into related issues such as fundamental rights and equal treatment, and the existence and scope of formal and informal legal mechanisms through which citizens and third country nationals can enforce their rights and freedoms in the EU.
- The second component of the course runs in parallel to the first and lasts two semesters. It aims to provide an opportunity for students to develop practical skills to advise citizens on their rights under EU migration law, based on the knowledge gained in the first component of the module. It takes the form of a work placement scheme held in the second term that will provide an opportunity for students to gain valuable work experience as a caseworker for the EU Rights Clinic. At the EU Rights Clinic, the students work under the supervision of a lawyer, social worker or other qualified professional. This work placement scheme is designed to provide students with practical experience in assisting citizens who face problems in the exercise of their EU rights to free movement. Each student is expected to attend the EU Rights Clinic on a weekly basis during the second term. In addition, a monthly class is held to provide a forum for students to discuss their work experiences.
The course is convened by Anthony Valcke, a solicitor qualified in the UK who has been specialising in EU law for over twelve years. The academic coordinator for the course is Professor Harm Schepel, Director of Law Programmes at the University of Kent’s Brussels School of International Studies.