Sunday, March 15, 2015

Alice Studies: Introduction to European Business Law (Lund University)

I took this free Coursera course for two reasons. One: Out of curiosity because I have ZERO knowledge on the subject matter and I am not a fan of law study (its complexity scares me...). Two: My love for Europe and particularly, Italy, so it makes perfect sense to satisfy my curiosity and at the same time tackle a subject that I "think" I am not capable of understanding. In short, I'm killing two birds with one stone.

I LOVED IT! I am very happy to announce I have completed the course today. I learned so much throughout the duration of it, and the team of instructors from the Lund University ranging from the librarian to the doctoral candidates to the professors is awesome! I viewed every interview by Senior Professor Hans Henrik Lidgard with these researchers, and was inspired.

About the Course: 
This introductory course will provide students with the fundamental tools they need in order to be able to do business with the EU, whether they live in Europe or elsewhere. Students will gain an understanding of both the practical and theoretical aspects of European business law and how the EU's Internal Market operates in a global context. We will focus on topics central to business law and to economic analysis, such as free movement law, competition law, environmental law, trade law and state aids law. Students will also gain a general understanding of the European Union’s legal system and explore the basic constitutional foundations of the European Union. Furthermore, students will learn how to find and use EU legal material. [More information here on Coursera]

I have learned about intellectual property law, competition law, state aid law and public procurement law, tax law, labour law, procedural law and environmental law. All these, of course, are at an introductory level and I will not say I know everything (a lot of it, in fact, is still fuzzy to me), but from zero knowledge I now have a foundation to build on for a deeper study. My basic knowledge of law and legal terminology is also very limited but the instructors are clear and I had no difficulty at all understanding the contents of the lectures. The reading materials (described below) are really helpful too.

Reading Materials:
While the lectures served as the main source of information, students like me can also consult the reference reading documents referred to in the module. Throughout the course, the lectures referred to key texts of European business law, such as EU secondary legislation and treaties, and case law from the European Court of Justice. This course provides a great structure and guides the students to the reference reading documents.

A snapshot of the reference reading document. This one's from Module 2: The Economic Freedom. As you can see, it is clearly tagged to the related lectures.

The reference reading documents consist of both mandatory and non-mandatory items. The mandatory reading material may be tested in the graded quizzes.

Two types of Statement of Accomplishment (SoA) are awarded for this course: a Normal SoA and a SoA with Distinction. For me, having completed the three graded quiz assignments, I will only be receiving a Normal SoA. The SoA with distinction requires students to publish a case law report which will be peer graded, in addition to completing the three graded quiz assignments.

I couldn't commit more into the course and had to forego the peer-graded assignments because of my MBA studies and foreign languages pursuit. Still, I'm contented with what I've achieved and I did leave the course with a good introductory knowledge of the European business law, and using the relevant  databases to find Regulations, Directives, Decisions, and Commission Documents through EUR-Lex and Case Law through Curia!