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Governing in times of crisis

Explore from a legal perspective, how governments handle situations of crisis of different natures

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CIVIS focus area
Society, culture, heritage
Open to
  • Master's
  • Phd
Field of studies
  • Law
  • Social Science and humanities
  • Blended Intensive Programmes (BIP)
Course dates
15 May - 7 July 2023

"Governing in times of crisis" is a summer school that aims to discuss, from a legal perspective, how governments handle situations of crisis of different natures, and how they are held accountable in such circumstances.

This year, the summer school will seek to provide participants with an understanding of topics such as how the concept of "crisis" should be defined, the extent to which emergency regimes can be used to respond to differents types of crises, and how different types of oversight and accountability mechanisms such as courts, parliaments and civil society actors can contribute to holding decision-makers accountable in a crisis context, thereby preserving the fundamentals of the rule of law.

The summer school will be built around a mix of lectures, seminars, and presentation of case-studies.

Main topics addressed

  • The concept of crisis
  • The law of emergency regimes
  • The role of courts in crisis situations
  • The role of Parliaments in crisis situations
  • The role of civil society actors in crisis situations

Learning outcomes

Following this course, students will be able to:

  • Critically discuss the role played by and the potential from a rule of law perspective of different types of accountability
  • Oversight mechanisms in the context of crisis decision-making.
  • Include by distinguishing between sorts of crises, types of accountability mechanisms, and timing at which oversight is exercised.
Dates: 15 May - 7 July 2023 Total Workload: 75 hours

Format: Blended

Location: Brussels, Belgium Language: English (B2)

Recognition of ECTS depends on your home university. 

Physical mobility

The physical mobility part will be running from 3 to 7 July 2023. Selected students will travel to Brussels, Belgium, at Université libre de Bruxelles, where students will attend (interactive) lectures and take part in seminars. They will also be expected to present the results of their case-studies during the week. Several social events will be planned throughout the week in Brussels.

Virtual part

The virtual part will be running from 15 May to 2 July 2023.

Selected students will be divided into groups of 4 students each, from different CIVIS member universities. Students from each group will be virtually introduced to one another by the Université libre de Bruxelles organising team and will be asked to prepare a case-study on the topic of oversight in the context of a crisis.

Case-studies will be built around types of accountability mechanism, specific countries (in principle, those civis countries from which the students come) and a particular"crisis" (climate change, covid, etc.)

Students will be asked to explore and discuss comparatively the role of a specific oversight mechanism in their respective countries in a particular crisis context.

A reading list with relevant resources will be provided to the students, together with a common conceptual framework, and a follow-up meeting between each group and members of the organising team will be organised online to make sure that the students are progressing well and answer possible questions.

Students will be expected to present the results of their case-studies during the on-site part of the summer school, in Brussels.


This course is open to Master's and PhD students at CIVIS member universities enrolled in the following fields of study or related: Law or Political Sciences.

A B2 level of English is also required.

NB: Visiting Students - Erasmus Funding Eligibility

To be eligible for your selected CIVIS programme, you must be a fully enrolled student at your CIVIS home university at the time you will be undertaking the programme. Click here to learn more about the eligibility criteria.

Application process

Interested students should apply by filling in the online application form by 28 February 2023. 

Applications will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • CV
  • Motivation letter
  • Level of English
  • Academic interest for the topic of the summer school
  • Past relevant experience
  • Diversity of backgrounds

Apply now


Students will be assessed by the organising team based on the presentation of the case-studies which they will have prepared in advance of the on-site summer school. Students will have time to finalise together the preparation of their case-study during the on-site summer school at Université libre de Bruxelles. The assessment will seek to evaluate whether the students are able to critically discuss the role played by and the potential of specific types of accountability and oversight mechanisms in the context of crisis decisionmaking.

Blended Intensive Programme

This CIVIS course is a Blended Intensive Programme (BIP): a new format of Erasmus+ mobility which combines online teaching with a short trip to another campus to learn alongside students and professors across Europe. Click here to learn more about CIVIS BIPs.

GDPR Consent

The CIVIS alliance and its member universities will treat the information you provide with respect. Please refer to our privacy policy for more information on our privacy practices. By applying to this course you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms.

Université libre de Bruxelles

  • Emmanuel Slautsky (Professor of Public Law and Comparative Law)
  • Julien Pieret (Professor of Public Law)
  • Thibault Gaudin (Postdoctoral researcher)
  • Camille Lanssens (PhD student)

Aix-Marseille Université

  • Ariane Vidal-Naquet (Professor of Public Law)
  • Priscilla Jensel-Monge (Lecturer in Public Law)

National and Kapodistrian University of Athens

  • Ekaterini Iliadou (Assistant Professor of Public Law)

In addition, guest speakers from Université libre de Bruxelles and other CIVIS member universities will also be invited to contribute to the summer school in the form of lectures or participation in panel discussions and seminars at Université libre de Bruxelles. Roundtables with relevant stakeholders will also be included in the program.