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Teaching EU Law outside the EU


An explorative analysis of eight case studies in Asia. Speakers: Dr Irene Wieczorek, Associate Professor in EU Law at Durham Law School, Durham University and Miranda Qianyu Wang, PhD Candidate at Durham Law School, Durham University.

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The talk will be based on the recently published book chapter: Irene Wieczorek and Qianyu Wang, ‘Teaching EU Law Outside the EU: An Explorative Analysis of Eight Case Studies in Asia’ in Maria Stoicheva, S. G. Sreejith, Indranath Gupta (eds), Relevance of European Studies in Asia (Springer 2023)

This chapter investigates the state of EU law teaching in Asia. It chooses eight countries/regions as case studies (mainland China, Macau, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan, India, Pakistan, Singapore) based on their capacity to represent different regions in Asia (East Asia, South Asia, South East Asia) and to include both countries/regions with a colonial past with the EU and without.

Given the limited and dated nature of the literature on the topic, which accounts for the originality of this study, the research relies on primary sources for data collection, namely websites and syllabi and elite interviews with EU law professors.

The finding shows that firstly, EU law teaching is offered in at least one, and in some cases significantly more than one, academic institutions in each of the surveyed countries/regions.

Both the basics of EU constitutional law and substantive policies of EU law (e.g., among others, EU competition law, EU environmental law, EU data protection law) are taught. Secondly, we found a gap between scholarly and students’ interest in EU law.

On the staff side, the interest in offering EU law teaching in countries where EU law does not directly apply, stems from a strong scholarly interest in EU law research, and from the role of the EU as a normative global actor in certain fields of law.

This makes the inclusion of EU law teaching unavoidable in law schools where comparative law methodology is used extensively as a pedagogical tool. We interpreted this as a spill over effect on the legal education sector of the EU’s well-known norm-diffusion efforts.

Students’ reasons for taking, or not taking, EU law courses are however mainly pragmatic and job-market-related and are based on a pre-conception as to EU law’s irrelevance for their career.

This was interpreted as a failure to highlight the existing practical relevance of EU law and how also non-European job market can reward this type of expertise.

Students appear to maintain a fairly neutral vision of the EU and the legacy of colonialisation by European countries does not play a role in shaping their views.

If anything it fosters more exchanges with European countries. The teaching of EU law is generally adjusted to a non-European audience.

This influences the areas of EU law which are taught, but also the level of depth with which these are taught.

An added value is identified in relying on non-western readings on EU law, however, there does not seem to be a structured effort to deliver EU law teaching from a non-Eurocentric perspective.

This can also explain why students’ critical view of the EU does not seem to be strongly developed.

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30 Apr 2024