Despite challenges to the Rule of Law around the globe, and recent political attempts at curbing court powers, law remains a central element of policy processes. Law not only serves as a basis and framework for governance and policy-making, it also offers tools and opportunities for policy development and implementation, as well as important accountability mechanisms. Familiarity and understanding of relevant legal frameworks, mechanisms and dynamics is essential for public and private actors involved in policy-making.
The 2-credit course Law and Public Policy provides a basic introduction to legal issues relevant to public policy. The course combines theoretical insights as well as practical components (case study presentations; practical case). It takes a comparative perspective and dedicates particular attention to the impact of globalization and regional integration on legal and policy processes, and interaction between them.
Throughout the course, students get to reflect on the relevance of law to public policy, in addressing contemporary problems (eg refugee crisis, security challenges, social justice, etc). They will gain exposure to, and develop familiarity with, relevant legal frameworks and the processes through which these are created and developed. Students will explore various means of using law as a policy tool, with a special focus on regulation and litigation. Covering international, regional, and comparative constitutional and administrative law, the course provides students with the opportunity to identify, review and evaluate judicial and non-judicial mechanisms which may affect policy-outcomes, including alternative dispute resolutions mechanisms, judicial review, liability regimes and interim and emergency relief. Students will gain an understanding of basic procedural and substantive principles such as transparency, due process, human rights, equal treatment, and proportionality, as they frame and support the activities of various policy actors. Students will have the chance to sharpen their professional expertise, in the context of special classes dedicated to public interest litigation and not-for-profit law. Throughout, the course participants will be encouraged to reflect on the role of law as providing accountability frameworks, but also discuss the limits of law in shaping societies. The course ends with developing concrete recommendations addressing the problems encountered in the student’s own practical case.