Saint-Louis University - Bruxelles

ESPO1174 - Law

Credits : 3

Lecturer :
Teaching assistant :
Mode of delivery :
Face-to-face , first term, 30 hours of theory.

Timetable :
First term
Friday from 09:00 to 11:00 at 43 Botanique 1

Language of instruction :

Learning outcomes :
As this course is an introductory course, it implies that the students should first be initiated to fundamental legal techniques. Thus, they will have to familiarise themselves with the legal vocabulary (constitution, law, ruling, order, legislative chamber, debtor, subject of law...). To help them in this task, we will associate each of these new notions to concrete illustrations out of the current life of the law.

The student will then be able to read and understand the various forms in which the law is expressed. This way, they will learn to read a rule of law (Constitution, law), to use a Code, to understand a court decision (ruling, order).

Finally, the students will be initiated and will be able to understand the fundamental legal institutions of the Belgian State, both in terms of public law (relation between governors and governed) and in terms of private law (notion of subject of law, contract, some principles of law of persons). We will also focus on the importance and development of international law.

Prerequisites :

Co-requisites :

Course contents :
The course is conceived as a reasoned approach of the essential mechanisms of law and their illustration in Belgian positive law. It is divided into three parts.

The first part introduces to the general theory of law and initiates to the fundamental legal techniques.

The second part gives, as an application, an overview of the Belgian rules of law related to public institutions and to the organisation of powers (elements of public law). Concepts related to civil liberties and fundamental institutions of democracy are introduced in this section.

The third part introduces the students to private law.

Planned learning activities and teaching methods :
The students are offered many different methods to achieve in the best possible way the aims of the course:

- The lecture, taught two hours per week during one semester, which the student can easily follow with the syllabus used by the professor as guiding thread.

- The syllabus, which, though it does not contain the entire subject matter, includes a precise definition of all the notions, a description of the fundamental institutions and references to all the constitutional and legal dispositions. This syllabus should be studied as far as it has been explained in class. Any chapter that has not been addressed in class does not have to be studied for the assessment.

- The economic “Code”. A collection of all the constitutional and legal dispositions that the students are likely to refer to because these will have been mentioned in class. The students are however not required to purchase this Code (approximately 25 euros) but they should dispose of a copy of all the legislative dispositions quoted in class.

- An optional tutorial (1 hour per week) under the supervision of the probationary lecturer, a legal practitioner. The current probationary lecturer is M. J. de Codt, advisor of the Court of Cassation. This tutorial, for which the theme of each session will be provided at the beginning of the semester, has three main objectives:
-) The first one is to enable the students to ask questions to clarify the parts of the course that they did not understand.
-) The second one is to deepen some themes of reflection on news topics related to law (Responsibility of the journalists - Why are there sentences? - Prison - Responsibility of the holders of authority - Respect of privacy - Criminal procedure).
-) The third aim is to teach the students to read the rulings and orders mentioned in the objectives of the course, and to give them exercises to do, which will be corrected but not marked.

- A “small” syllabus, which initiates the students to the reading of legal decisions, handed out free of charge during the semester. If the students wish to, they can obtain a copy of the decisions, summarise them, and then give them to the professor or the probationary lecturer for correction.

Assessment methods and criteria :
The students will be assessed during a written examination entirely conceived and corrected by the lecturer in charge of the course.

The examination is divided into three parts:

The first part is a multiple-choice questionnaire, which enables to assess if the students have acquired all the legal concepts and notions with precision.

The second part is a synthesis question enabling the students to make a short presentation of a broader issue studied in class. For this question, they will be asked to justify their answer with the legal texts that they dispose of.
The third part consists in summarising a court decision (ruling or order) of which a copy will be handed out. When the summary is done, the students will be asked one or two questions enabling to check their perfect understanding of the decision. This decision will be chosen in law discipline to which the students will have been introduced through the lecture.

Recommended or required reading :

Other information :