European Law, International and Private International Law Dissertation Topics & Ideas

We have collated for you a selection of 12 dissertation topics and ideas on european law, international and private international law. You are welcome to use these topics to help you create your own law dissertation topics.

Example Dissertation Topics & Ideas

1. To what extent should the doctrines of Horizontal and Direct Effect be reconsidered in order to maintain the inherent of Member States?

This dissertation topic will explore the conflict between the supremacy of EU law with the sovereignty of Member States. Thus, it will follow the development of ECJ case law from Costa v ENEL (Case 6/64) RCR 585, Van Gend en Loos (Case 26/62) [1963] ECR 1 and Amministrazione delle Finanze dello Stato v Simmenthal (Case 106/77) [1989] ILRM 53 and beyond. It will then consider how this conflict has created for the parliamentary systems of Ireland and the UK through a case law review, and determine if there should be a reconsideration of the ECJ's powers.

2. To what extent can the individual personally enforce EU Law?

This dissertation topic will explore the citizen's rights to enforce EU law, which varies in applicability. Thus, this examination will consider the powers of Article 267 and the van Colson (Case -14/83). It will then examine the rights to damages under the Francovich (Case C-48 9/90). This is provided for by Article 340(2)'s Shoppenstadt's Formula (Brasserie de Pecheur C-46; Headley Lomas C-5/94). It will then consider the enforcement of EU law against private individuals and the effect of the Pupino Case (Case C-105/03, Criminal Proceedings against Maria Pupino). Finally, it will explore the right of standing to apply directly to the ECJ for judicial review under Article 263 TFEU. Therefore, this examination will provide comprehensive review of the right of the citizen to enforce EU law, and consider if reform is needed.

3. Can the Free Movement of Goods be legitimately restricted or prohibited by Member States?

Article 34 TFEU (Article 28 EC) and Article 35 TFEU (Article 29 EC) prohibits quantitative restrictions and all equivalent measures on the free movement of goods. However, Articles 34 and 35 are qualified by Article 36 TFEU (Article 30), which allows exceptions on the grounds of public interest, which includes aspects such as public health, national security or morality. Thus, the Member State has to either show that a potential restriction does not have an inhibiting effect   or falls under Article 36 TFEU. The approach taken under Article 34 is a strict interpretation, with little leeway, which can be identified in the Geddo v Ente Nationale Risi [1973] ECR 865. The problem is there has been controversy on how the application lies; thus this discussion will explore the decision in C-110/05 Commission v Italy [2009] 2 CMLR 34 and other recent cases to the application of restrictions.

4. The Creation of a Unified Market has been centred on the Four Freedoms to what extent has ECJ jurisprudence been successful?

This dissertation topic will explore the four freedoms and the case law surrounding each freedom, in order to determine if a unified market has been developed. It will primarily take a case law review, which will compare the approaches taken by the ECJ for each freedom. It will also consider if the Market has given rise to a social union.

5. To what extent has recent case law on the EU Citizenship has eroded the "purely" or "wholly" internal rule?

The cases of Ruiz Zambrano [2011]2 CMLR 46 and McCarthy [2011] 3 CMLR 10 have raised some questions on the rights of citizenship in the EU and how this may be affected by exercising these rights. It seems that in one case the “the "purely" or "wholly" internal rule established in R v Saunders [1979] ECR 1129 has been maintained (McCarthy), but this is not the case in Ruiz Zambrano. Thus, it is important to understand the basis of this rule and its validity, as citizenship rights are expanded. The basis of This dissertation topic is to clarify the free movement principles and the rights with the EU.

6. To what extent has the conflict of laws been harmonised in the EU?

This examination will explore the impact of Brussels I, Brussels II, Rome I and Rome II to determine the extent that judgements and enforcement have been harmonised across the EU. It will explore the jurisprudence of the ECJ and its application in English law to test the effectiveness of the conflict of laws regime. Finally, it will consider if harmonisation is the best approach, especially when there is a potential to override party autonomy.

7. Should the Role of the Exequatur be abolished in the EU's Conflict of Laws Regime?

The exequatur is the intermediary role that allows for judgements to “registered” for enforcement with the European Union's conflict of laws model. The initial stages of judgements harmonisation may have required this role, but with the developments under Brussels I and Rome II the role is no longer necessary. Thus, the primary question of This dissertation topic is to consider is how this additional tier can be justified when the purpose of Rome II is to harmonise and enforce judgements as the norm?

8. The Conflict of Laws can be problematic in International Family and Property Law disputes; to what extent should there be international harmonisation of jurisdictional principles?

This dissertation topic will explore the treatment of family, divorce and will disputes within the international conflict of laws rules. Thus, the nature of the property and/or dispute can result in the same case having a variety of rules being applied. This raises questions whether there needs to be general harmonisation of jurisdictional rules in this area (if possible).

9. An Examination of jus ad bellum and jus in bello in the International Law of a Just War. Should an international consensus be essential to label a war as “legal”?

The approach to war has undergone some synthesis since the 1999 Action in Kosovo by NATO, because there was a wider acceptance of intervention “to protect” the human rights of others outside of UN consensus. However, since 9 the “illegal war” in Iraq there has been “clamping down” on legitimate warfare. This means the arguments of jus in bello and jus ad bellum have undergone significant narrowing in international law. Thus, the focus of the discussion will be the development of jus ad bellum in the current approaches to war. It will determine what is and what is not a just war. In order to illustrate the discussion there will be a focus on the interventions (and refusal to intervene) in the aftermath of the Arab Spring.

10. A Right to Self-Determination does not necessitate a Right State Sovereignty. To what extent should the law of self-determination be developed to provide a more comprehensive right to sovereignty?

This dissertation topic will explore the various approaches to what constitutes self-determination under Article 1(1) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Article 1(1) identifies it is a fundamental right for indigenous peoples to attain self-governance over their lands and social structure. But, this does not necessitate state sovereignty; thus this discussion will explore the interface between the ICCPR and the Montevideo Convention 1933. The purpose of this examination is to determine when sovereignty is necessary to fulfil the ICCPR protections.

11. To what extent are a coastal state's territorial rights limited under UNCLOS?

This dissertation topic will explore the rights of the coastal state to impose restrictions, customs fees and so forth under UNCLOS. It will also consider the extent of the coastal state's rights and obligations with regards to the exploitation of natural resources in surrounding waters. Thus, it will consider if UNCLOS provides a balanced system, or gives too much power to coastal states. 

12. Can Environmental Protections be reconciled with GATT Principles? An examination of the WTO cases laws stemming from the US Shrimp/Turtle and US Dolphin/Tuna Cases?

The US Shrimp-Turtle Case and the Dolphin-Tuna Case are the two key cases on interpreting the Article XX exceptions of GATT, in reference to environmental concerns. Thus, between the two cases one can identify the extent environmental concerns can be used as an obstacle to the international trading system. The topic will explore the application of these two cases, and then consider if the concept of environmental protection is substantively protected under GATT.