JUS5560 – International Constitutional Law and Democracy

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Course content

The increasing Europeanization and internationalization of law have resulted in increasingly international processes of legislation. This is also occurring on areas which previously have been considered to be primarily of internal interest for the nation states and their legislative institutions. Several and very comprehensive treaties have been made into national legislation or have given supranational organizations the competence to legislate with direct internal effect. Parts of the EC/EU treaties are supranational in character. Several treaties have also established courts or other conflict-resolution mechanisms which have contributed significantly to the increased efficiency of the implementation of international law. The meaning of the concepts of sovereignty and democracy relating to the constitutions of the nation-states are thus distinctly influenced. The same would be true for the status of the democratic legitimacy of law.

Questions are thus raised and discussed about the relations between the nation-states and the various international and European treaties and conflict-resolving mechanisms within a constitutional framework and regarding the demands for a democratic legitimacy of law. It is suggested in international constitutional theory that instead of a dichotomy between national and international law we are now increasingly seeing forms of combination, overlapping and interdependence between several constitutional levels of law.

This course seeks to present and to discuss these questions. Particular emphasis is put on a presentation and discussion of the constitutional character of the EU/EC treaties. The EEA treaty will also be presented. This is partly because these treaties presently are the most comprehensive international treaties seen from the point of view of the nation-states and their regulatory traditions, but also partly because there is a rich legal literature here. There will also be contributions discussing how the evolution of an increasing europeanization and internationalization has influenced the legal concepts of sovereignty, democracy and nation-state, and more comprehensively the concepts and the discourse of constitutions and constitutionality.

The concept of citizenship will be discussed within the new and more international constitutional framework. The evolution of a more international and European orientation of the European nation-states will be put into a historical perspective in one contribution. There will also be articles discussing normative aspects of this evolution and how it should be described legally, institutionally and normatively. The course will thus have its profile within a law-in-context tradition attempting to describe the evolution of new legal processes and structures in the constitutional area in a combined legal, institutional and normative way.

For students enrolled in Rettsvitenskap (jus) (master - 5 år): Have you considered a specialization as part of your degree? The course is part of the profile Komparativ rett

Read more about profiles.

Learning outcome

The course is designed to give the students a deeper insight into the current changes of international and European law in the direction of forming more comprehensive regimes, applying supranational legal forms, applying international courts and thus also of attaining the qualities of constitutional legal systems. The course will also give an introduction to the theories of democracy which are relevant to the new constitutional levels.


You may register for this course if you have admission to a Master’s programme at UiO or the faculty's exchange programme. You can also register for this course if you do not have admission to any programme at UiO, but meet the formal prerequistites.

All students are required meet the formal prerequistites.

Have you met the formal prerequisites at another institution than the University of Oslo, and the results are not formally registered at UiO, you must apply for admission to courses at Master’s level . Students with admission to Master’s degree programmes at other faculties than The Faculty of Law must also apply for admission.

When your admission is in order you must register for courses in StudentWeb


Formal prerequisite knowledge

Students must fill one of these requirements:

  • Passed 1st - 3rd year of the 5-years degree Master of Laws (Master i rettsvitenskap at UiO) (or exams that qualify for exemption for these) or
  • Hold a 5-years Master’s degree in Laws (Master i rettsvitenskap at UiO) or equivalent.

Exemptions from the formal prerequisites will be given to students with admission to the faculty's own exchange or master’s degree programmes. This rule does not apply to students with admission to other master’s degree programmes at the University of Oslo, unless otherwise agreed.

Recommended previous knowledge

Three years of law studies.



Language of teaching for this course is English. This means that all
communication during lectures/seminars will be in English, and all
literature and auxiliary materials are in English.


In the spring semester 2022, the exam will be a 24 hour home exam, maximum 3000 words on master’s level and 2000 words on bachelor’s level.

Footnotes should be included in the word count of the main text. Not included in this count: front page (title etc.), summary, table of contents and references (bibliography). (If relevant for the paper).

Assignments/papers with text exceeding the word limit will not be accepted.


Examination support material

All support materials will be permitted throughout the exam.

Use of sources and rules for citing

The standard rules on cheating and plagiarism  apply to assignments. This means that you must provide a reference whenever you draw upon another person’s ideas, words or research in your answer to the exam question(s). You cannot copy text directly from textbooks, journal articles, court judgments etc. without highlighting that the text is copied.

Thus, pieces of text quoted verbatim from these and other sources must be italicised or otherwise highlighted so that it is obvious that the pieces of text are quotes.

Example of highlighting in a text:

"Laurent Bailay and Bernard Van der Lande propose to define a mobile payment as a “payment for products or services between two parties for which a mobile device, such as a mobile phone, plays a key role in the realization of the payment”. (European Commission, GREEN PAPER Towards an integrated European market for card, internet and mobile payments, page 5)"

Use of sources and citations

Failure to cite sources or highlight quotes in your exam answer may be considered as evidence of cheating.

Previous exam papers

Language of examination

The examination text is given in English, and you submit your response in English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Marking criteria 

This  guide is used by examiners for grading this course.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take this exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

There are special rules for resitting a passed examination in the master's programme in Law.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.


The language for this course is English. Students enrolled in the
Masterprogrammet i rettsvitenskap must pass one
English subject as part of their degree, this course will meet these

This subject is taught at Master 's level. The subject is also taught at Bachelor's level (15 ECTS credits), see JUR1560 – International Constitutional Law and Democracy (BA). Please see the chapter above, regarding overlap. For instances of overlap, credits will be deducted on the subject at Bachelors's level.

Facts about this course






Every spring


Every spring

Teaching language