Module Information

Module Identifier
LA34500
Module Title
Public Law
Academic Year
2016/2017
Co-ordinator
Semester
Semester 1 (Taught over 2 semesters)
Exclusive (Any Acad Year)
Exclusive (Any Acad Year)
Exclusive (Any Acad Year)
Pre-Requisite
LA15710 OR GF14230 OR LA14230 OR LA34230 OR GF14720 OR LA14720 OR GF34720 OR LA34720
External Examiners
  • Ms Emma R McClean (Senior Lecturer - Westminster University)
 
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 30 x 1 Hour Lectures
Seminar 1 x 1 Hour Seminar
Seminar 5 x 1 Hour Seminars
Workshop 2 x 2 Hour Workshops
Lecture 16 x 1 Hour Lectures
 

Assessment

Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Exam 2 Hours   Exam  67%
Semester Assessment Essay  of 2,000 words  33%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   Exam  - if exam element failed  67%
Supplementary Assessment Essay  of 2,000 words - if essay element failed  33%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Explain how the British constitutional system works and be able to discuss proposals for reform;
2. Analyse the existing system and evaluate strengths and weaknesses;
3. Deal with constitutional legal materials in a critical and analytical manner;
4. Identify problems in the constitutional system and apply their knowledge in suggesting possible solutions (for example, with reference to comparative material);
5. Apply legal principles to factual situations in order to suggest possible outcomes to cases;
6. Identify and appreciate the constitutional law implications of general developments in law and politics, and demonstrate understanding of the relationship between UK constitutional law and European / international law as well as the interaction between central and devolved elements of the constitution;
7. Demonstrate a knowledge of the regulation of administrative activities in Britain and be able to analyse key legislation and cases;
8. Demonstrate an understanding of contextual factors, such as the political dynamics that shape the role and legal powers of the executive;
9. Demonstrate an understanding of the judicial review process and its consequences.

Brief description

Public law is conventionally divided into constitutional and administrative law. The United Kingdom is unusual in that it does not have a written constitution. Whether this has an impact in practice and the way in which the Constitution has adapted and accommodated to changing circumstances are important themes of the course. What this means, why it is the case and whether it makes a difference in practice are among the questions which we look at in this course which seeks to introduce students to the study of constitutional law in general and to the basic doctrines of the British Constitution in particular. Administrative law is concerned with the exercise of state power, and the impact of governmental activities upon the citizen including education, the running of our prisons, planning, transport, welfare benefits system and much more.

Content

1. General introduction to constitutional law: constitutions in general; different types of constitution; the status of constitutional law in relation to other laws in the state; reading writing constitutions
2. Sources of the British Constitution: legal sources of the UK constitution - primary and secondary legislation; prerogative powers, common law; the place of EU law and of international law in the UK system. Non-legal sources of the constitution - constitutional conventions, formation, identification and possible codification
3. The doctrine of Parliamentary Sovereignty - the meaning and significance of the classic doctrine of Parliamentary Sovereignty; Parliamentary Sovereignty in the context of the contemporary UK Constitution and its development, including consideration of the impact of accession to the EU on the doctrine of Parliamentary sovereignty
4. The rule of law - the significance and meaning of the Rule of Law; the Rule of Law in the contemporary UK Constitution and its development
5. Separation of powers - the meaning and significance of the separation of powers principle; separation of powers and its role in the UK Constitution
6. The territorial structure of the United Kingdom and devolution - introduction to the formation of the UK; relevant laws and legal terminology; general issues regarding division of power in states; devolution in the UK - institutions and powers; federal and unitary characteristics of states
7. Law-making institutions and processes - legislative institutions; law-making powers and processes; scrutiny of the law-making process
8. Executive power and accountability - Executive institutions; Prerogative power and reserve powers; systems for ensuring accountability for executive action
9. The protection of human rights in the United Kingdom - general issues concerning protection of rights in constitutions - content and status of rights human rights protections; the approach in the UK prior to the Human Rights Act 1998; content and status of the Human Rights Act 1998; ongoing debate about change
10. The nature and purpose of administrative law - identifying the various functions of administrative law
11. The modern administrative state - rolling back the frontiers and the rise of New Public Management - the modernization of the Welfare State; privatization - agency creation, contracting out
12. Introduction to judicial review - the legal basis of the judicial review procedure; what acts can be challenged - who can make a claim and when can judicial review be excluded; remedies
13. Non-judicial grievance mechanisms - the Ombudsman system - introduction to the public sector ombudsman system
14. The role of local government - what is local government and what does it do?; the shift from service 'provider' to 'facilitator'

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number
Communication Preparation for and discussion in seminars (written communication assessed)
Improving own Learning and Performance Post lecture research and seminar preparation
Information Technology Post lecture research and seminar preparation
Personal Development and Career planning Learning throughout the module will be relevant to a career in the legal profession
Problem solving Preparation for and discussion of problem solving questions in seminars
Research skills Post lecture research and seminar preparation
Subject Specific Skills Legal research: use of specifically designed legal databases as a resource for statute and case law.
Team work Seminar work: preparation and group discussion

Notes

This module is at CQFW Level 6