In this paper, the performance of different structural models based on global approach in evaluating the static response of curvilinear fibre composite laminates is analyzed. A Co shear flexible Quad-8 element developed based on higher-order structural theory is employed for the present study. The structural theory accounting for the realistic variation of displacements through the thickness and the possible discontinuity in the slope at the interface is considered. Four alternate discrete structural models, deduced from the generic structural model by retaining various terms in the displacement functions are examined for their applicability. The accuracy of the present formulation is demonstrated considering the problems for which analytical solutions are available. A systematic numerical study, assuming different ply-angle and lay-up, is conducted in bringing out the influence of various structural models on the static response of composite laminates with curvilinear fibres. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.