Universiteit Leiden

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Europa Institute


The East African Community, established in 1999, forms one of the most interesting and promising projects of regional integration in Africa. The Partner states Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda and Burundi today have a common market, a common monetary union is in full progress and even forms of political federation are explored.

Although it is unique in its own right, the East African Community shares many of the aims of the EU, and has been inspired by regional integration in Europa and the EU Treaties. As a result the EAC can learn from the successes and failures of 50 years of European integration. For this reason, the Europa Institute Leiden University has set up the Centre for Legal and Comparative Studies of the East African Community (LEAC). The objectives of the Centre is to comparatively apply its extensive expertise in EU law and European Integration to the East African Union. Where might the successes and the failures of the EU help the EAC, preferably in as practical a way as possible? In addition to academic research the LEAC aims to organize conferences, provide education to scholars, judges, civil servants and legal practitioners on EAC law and to generally contribute to the project of East African integration.

The Centre works in close cooperation with the East African Court of Justice and as well as with local universities, experienced professionals and also NGOs and economic actors.

The Centre was officially launched with a joint research project in 2012. In collaboration with local experts, a strategic document was drawn up on the East African Community. It provides an accessible summary of the existing regulations within the East African Community.  In addition, the research looks at the specific challenges within the Community and compares these with the most important legal developments within the European Union. The subsequent aim of the LEAC is to develop these separate topics into research papers.

Professor Tom Ottervanger and associate professor Armin Cuyvers are responsible for the Centre and the related research project. For more information please visit our website or email to: LEAC@law.leidenuniv.nl

Current staff Leiden University

Tom Ottervanger
Armin Cuyvers
Frederik Behre
Richard Jiang

Current student researchers

Agnieszka Gronwald is enrolled in the Advanced LL.M. European and International Business Law programme at Leiden Univeristy and student research assistant for the LEAC. She graduated from the University of Aberdeen with the MA Economics and Legal Studies (1st Class Honours) in 2017. Furthermore, she studied at the University of Geneva and the University of Barcelona alongside her actual degree. She gained work experience in banking, commercial law and Polish diplomacy. Agnieszka participated in ELSA WTO Moot Court Competition in 2014 (world final and Valerie Hughs Award for Best Respondent Written Submission), coached the team from the University of Aberdeen and is currently involved in the Leiden University team.

Damini Sitaram is currently student in the LL.M. European Law programme at Leiden University and student research assistant for the LEAC. She graduated with a double Major in World Politics and Global Justice at Leiden University College The Hague. Damini is specialised in the interaction between political regional organizations and international law. Additionally, she is the co-founder of the journalistic start-up IM International.



Currently undertaking an Advanced LL.M in International and European Business law at Leiden University,  Yasmeen Dufils is student research assistant for the LEAC. She possess a double-degree in English and French law (an LL.B. and a Maîtrise in International Law) from the University of Essex and the Université Toulouse I Capitole. During the course of her studies, Yasmeen has gradually developed an interest for the examination of comparative legal systems, and more specifically for the relationship between the rule of law and regional integration. She aims to pursue her studies with the desire to contribute to the ever-expanding relationship between these fields and international law.

Previous student researchers

Camille Ammeloot
Ties Boonzajer Flaes
Michaela Croft
Carmen Echeverria
Verginie Etienne
Angela Gallerizzo
Magdalena Harrer
Matthijs de Meer
Merel Valk

Affiliated researchers

Jackson Bett, University of Nairobi School of Law 
Leonard Obura Aloo, University of Nairobi School of Law
Emmanuel Ugirashebuja, President of the East African Court of Justice
Flavian Zeija, Makerere University Business School, Kampala Uganda


On 27 November 2018, the fourth conference of the Center for Legal and Comparative Studies of the East African Community of Leiden University (LEAC) took place. The topic was 'Teaching EAC Law'. Read more

On the 27th April 2017, the third annual conference of the Leiden Center for East African Law (LEAC) took place at Strathmore University in Nairobi, Kenya. The theme of the conference was ‘East African Law: A Common Market, Opportunities and Challenges for the Business Community’. Read more

On the 5th of May 2016, the second annual conference of the Leiden Center for East African Law (LEAC) took place at the East African Community headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania. The Conference was organized on the occasion of Europe Day with the generous support of the EAC, the EU delegation to EAC and Europa Instituut of Leiden Law School. Read more 

On 29 and 30 April 2015 the Leiden Centre for East African Law (LEAC) hosted its first Annual Conference in Kigali, Rwanda. The conference was organized in cooperation with the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) and compared integration through law in the EU and the EAC. Read more

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