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QLLM317 Competition and the State: EU State Aid Law (Sem 1)

Module Description

This course examines EU state aid rules, i.e. rules restraining the public conferral of selective advantages to certain companies. This is a fascinating area of law that is not addressed in detail in competition law courses. Only in the last month, the European Commission has approved aid and aid schemes spanning across diverse fields such as renewable energy, banking, credit institutions etc. In addition, the European Commission has introduced important changes covering many areas of EU state aid law (e.g. revision of the General Block Exemption Regulation, issuance of revised Guidelines for rescuing and restructuring aid, environmental and energy aid, aid for research, development and innovation etc) and has opened a number of flagship investigations, most recently in relation to sweetheart tax rulings in Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Ireland.


1. Introduction: historical approach and economic rationale/ the legal framework
2. Notion of Aid (I): conferral of an economic or financial benefit, state resources and selectivity
3. Notion of Aid (II): conferral of an economic or financial benefit, state resources and selectivity
4. Compatibility of Aid
5. State Aid and SGEI
6. EU State aid rules – application in different sectors (I)
7. EU State aid rules – application in different sectors (II)
8. Procedural matters – administrative enforcement
9. Judicial Enforcement – The role of  national courts
10. Case Studies: state aid and financial crisis
11.  Case Studies: Tax rulings and transfer pricing as a form of state aid

Module Aims

The aim of the module is to enable students to develop an understanding of the legal, commercial and economic issues that arise in the application State aid rules to various state actions. We will consider and critically examine the way by which the European institutions have applied the relevant rules in order to promote competition in the EU internal market. We will also adopt a practical approach to the application of State aid rules in different sectors and aim to consolidate the theoretical and practical approach of the course through the discussion of case studies that build on recent issues in EU state aid law.  No previous knowledge of  EU law and EU competition law is required, though students are advised to combine this course with LLM EU Competition Law. This course is complementary to the course  'Competition and the State: Regulation of public services in the EU'. Students are advised to take both courses, however these courses are autonomous and can be followed individually.

Applicable Groupings

  • LLM in Competition Law
  • LLM in European Law
  • Laws (General)
  • LLM Flexible Study.

Mode of Assessment

5,000 word course essay


22.5 Credits

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