2022 - 2023 Programme
Bachelor's Degree in Law
Law is both essential and omnipresent in society. It provides a framework for individuals’ lives from the moment of their conception up to the time of their death. Legal practitioners are at the very forefront of increasingly complex and global political, economic, social and cultural issues. They are expected to have a thorough knowledge of the rules that apply and a strong sense of justice and fairness.
Laws generally stipulate specific behaviour for those they apply to: sometimes to impose an obligation, sometimes to authorise, and still other times to prohibit a particular conduct. These laws have to take account of the values commonly accepted by a given society. This is why the law programme at Saint-Louis University includes a solid foundation in the human sciences, through the study of insights from fields such as sociology, history, philosophy and economics, etc.
Over the course of their Bachelor in law programme, students study both “private” and “public” law.
Public law designates the entire set of laws that govern the organisation, functioning and powers of public authorities as well as the relationship between these authorities and private individuals. Public law includes constitutional law, administrative law, tax law, social security law, criminal law and criminal procedure law.
Private law encompasses the laws that govern relations between private individuals, be they natural persons (individuals) or legal entities (businesses, associations, etc.). Private law includes civil law, commercial law, labour law and private judicial law.
The teaching methodology combines traditional ‘in-theatre’ lectures with more practical classes that require student participation (including seminars, personal work, simulation activities, tutorials, training in the use of legal resources on the web, work ‘shadowing’ to gain experience of the practitioner context in relation to legal processes and practices, moot court competitions, etc.).
More specifically, in order to provide both practical training in the research process and instil in students a critical distance with respect to the law and its challenges, the final-year programme includes a theory of law seminar that requires students to write and present a substantial research paper.
The Bachelor in Law is a first cycle programme (referred to as a ‘transitional’ Bachelor’s degree). It comprises 180 credits spread over three years. It provides a preparation for the second cycle programme (Master’s degree), which Saint Louis students may go on to follow at another university.
The Bachelor in Law programme has two objectives (see also the ‘Key learning outcomes’ page):
• through its law courses, provide a comprehensive grounding in the main branches of law, as well as give students the ability to understand and use legal reasoning;
• through its human sciences courses, enable students to acquire a solid academic grounding in the different fields of human sciences that contribute to a critical understanding of legal issues (including ethical, political and socio-economic issues).
This programme and its constituent course units are structured in three annual blocks each with a value of 60 credits. These annual blocks make up a standard programme as set down by the academic authorities. The aim is to ensure that, in light of the variety, nature and degree of difficulty of the subjects covered, students follow the most logical learning path possible. This standardised programme also ensures that the timetable is free from overlaps.
In principle, all students begin by studying the course units of the first standard annual block.
Students having completed their first year may design their second and third year programmes provided that their selection:
• is in line with the provisions laid down in the General Academic and Examination Regulation;
• respects the interdependencies between the different course units stipulated by the academic authorities (prerequisites and co-requisites).
Each successive annual programme block includes certain mandatory course units. In the spirit of interdisciplinarity, which is one of the hallmarks of the Saint Louis approach, students must also choose a minimum of 20 credits of optional course units. These are included in the second and third year standard annual blocks and are selected as coherent unit groups, thus constituting minor options. Students may select one or more such ‘minors’ in: law, criminology, philosophy, political science, economics and management, or European studies. Students may also select a multidisciplinary minor made up of courses from different fields.
The law faculty has for many years accorded a high priority to learning and mastering foreign languages. To make this a reality all students are offered the choice between a bilingual French / English or a bilingual French / Dutch Bachelor’s Degree in Law with the possible addition of a third language (for details, see the Languages page).
In addition, with a view to training lawyers who are in tune with the realities of legal practice in the field, the Bachelor in Law programme offers students the opportunity to include a period of work shadowing in their third year programme in different law environments: Bar, judicial authorities, non-governmental organisations, etc.