Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

Module Identifier
Module Title
Devolution in the United Kingdom
Academic Year
Semester 2
LA16220 or LA36220 or GF16220 or LA34530 or GF34530
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 12 Hours in weeks 1-4
Seminars / Tutorials 3 hours total


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Plan  : Short Plan of The Mini Dissertation Required in week 7  : short plan of the mini dissertation (week 7)  20%
Semester Assessment Mini Dissertation  : maximum of 4000 words (week 11)  80%
Supplementary Assessment Supplementary note (350 words)  If the plan element is failed, the student is required to submit a note on a source of relevance to the mini-dissertation.  20%
Supplementary Assessment Mini Dissertation  Re-submission of the mini dissertation (4000 words)  80%

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to:
- explain general constitutional principles and practice regarding the division of power within states
- discuss the division of power between the various assemblies / parliaments within the UK
- discuss the role and powers of the National Assembly for Wales, the Northern Ireland Assembly and the Scottish Parliament
- discuss the way in which business and members are regulated in the different bodies
- discuss the composition, powers and functions of the Executives in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland
- carry out research on a legal topic
- discuss issues of particular significance in the individual bodies / jurisdictions
- evaluate the impact of devolution on the UK Constitution

Brief description

1998 saw the passage of legislation to establish devolution in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. This module examines the legislative and executive bodies established under the 1998 legislation in relation to their composition, powers and functions. The changes brought about in Wales by the Government of Wales Act 2006 are examined as are proposals for further changes in the different jurisdictions. In this way, the module provides an opportunity for students interested in public law to consider in detail some of the very profound changes which have taken place in recent years on the British constitutional landscape.


Aims of the module:
The aim of this module is to build upon the general introduction to devolution which was provided in the Constitutional Law module and to provide an opportunity for students to examine legal aspects of the devolution arrangements in the United Kingdom in greater depth and breadth.


Teaching will be through lectures (12) and seminars (3). The lectures will be concentrated at the beginning of the semester and will aim to set out the basic issues and highlight themes to be pursued by students in their mini-dissertation (see section on assessment). Seminars will be used for discussing work being undertaken by students for their mini-dissertation.

Introduction and General Material: different models, federalism, unitary states. Comparative material regarding general classifications. Legal and practical arrangements concerning the division of power within states.

Introduction to regional legislatures in the UK: Historical background; devolution in Northern Ireland 1922-1972; proposals in the 1970s; background to devolution in the 1990s; subsequent developments including the Richard Commission in relation to the powers of the National Assembly for Wales and legislative changes to the original Welsh devolution settlement. Discussion of further proposals for change.

The legal and non-legal framework: legislation and 'soft law'.

An examination of the legislative bodies in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland in relation to composition, internal structures, powers and functions.

An examination of the executive bodies in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland in relation to their composition, powers and functions.

Comparison between the devolved institutions and those of the UK.

Systems for avoiding and resolving disputes. New intergovernmental institutions and processes.

The extent to which 'traditional' constitutional norms and practices are tested.

Reading List

Recommended Consultation
Consult For Futher Information
The website of the Centre for Welsh Legal Affairs includes a bibliography of material on devolution (material published since 1997). Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 6