Kies de Nederlandse taal
Course module: 610079-M-3
Introduction to Law
Course info
Course module610079-M-3
Credits (ECTS)3
CategoryMA (Master)
Course typeCourse
Language of instructionEnglish
Offered byTilburg University; Tilburg Law School; TLS: INTERVICT; International Victimology Institute Tilburg;
Is part of
M Victimology and Criminal Justice
A.M.H.M. Bax
Other course modules lecturer
prof. C.R.J.J. Rijken
Other course modules lecturer
Academic year2019
Starting block
SM 1
Course mode
Registration openfrom 14/08/2019 up to and including 02/08/2020

After completion of this course, the student should be able: 

  • To discuss (on a basic level) the concept of law and central notions on law (such as the Rule of Law and the separation of powers).
  • To distinguish between the different levels and fields of law (international vs domestic law, private vs public law, common vs civil law, human rights vs humanitarian law, etcetera).
  • To explain some of the principles of substantive criminal law (such as conditions for criminal liability, complicity, inchoate offences).
  • To explain some of the principles of criminal procedural law (such as court systems and criminal procedures).
  • To explain the main features, principles and institutions of international law (public international law, human rights law, humanitarian law, and international criminal law).
  • To explain the main features, principles and institutions of European Law.
  • To analyse and interpret legal instruments such as codes, statutes, and case law of national and international courts.



The Course consists of 8 lectures*, broadly divided into five parts:


1) During the first part (lecture 1) the students will be introduced to the concept of law and the different legal theories that have tried to define what law is. Further topics include the functions of the law, the Rule of Law, structures of the legal system, the world’s legal traditions, the sources of law, and the levels and fields of law.


2) The second part (lectures 2 and 3) focuses on criminal law. The goal is to introduce students to some of the basic principles and concepts of criminal (procedural) law. Although every state has its own system of criminal law, they all share a set of fundamental principles and face similar issues. The aim of these lectures is to address some of those common or similar principles and concepts to gain an initial understanding of criminal law and proceeding.


3) The third part (lecture 4) will introduce students to EU law. The lecture consists of an introduction to the treaty structure, the European institutions, competences and legal instruments, and several general principles.


4) The fourth part (lecture 5 and 6) concentrates on international law. An overview will be given of international law, its functions, its subdivisions (public international law, international humanitarian law, international human rights law, and international criminal law), and its main institutions. In addition, transitional justice will be introduced.


5) The fifth part (lectures 7 and 8) is dedicated to practical skills, more in particular the reading and interpreting of legal sources including case law, and to the preparation of the written exam.

Contact person
prof. C.R.J.J. Rijken
Timetable information
Introduction to Law
Written test opportunities
Written test opportunities (HIST)
Schriftelijk / WrittenEXAM_01SM 1114-10-2019
Schriftelijk / WrittenEXAM_01SM 1216-12-2019
Required materials
Recommended materials
• Raymond Wacks, Law. A very short introduction, Oxford: Oxford University Press 2015 • Jonathan Herring, Criminal Law. The basics, London: Routledge 2010 • Jan Klabbers, International Law, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (2nd end) 2017. • K. Borchardt, The ABC of European Union law, 2016, available at:

Kies de Nederlandse taal