|Module Title||CONSTITUTIONAL LAW|
|Co-ordinator||Ms Ann P Sherlock|
|Other staff||Dr Stephen J Skinner, Mrs Glenys N Williams, Miss Hazel Ann Nash, Miss Samantha J Lumb, Ms Susan P Jenkins|
|Pre-Requisite||LA10110 or LA15710|
|Mutually Exclusive||GF16220 & LA36220|
|Lecture||30 Hours. - One two hour and two one hour lectures per week|
|Seminars / Tutorials||6 Hours. - six one hour seminars during the semester|
|Professional Exemptions||Required for Professional Purposes|
In addition to these intellectual skills, students will be able to demonstrate:
Good time-management skills in preparing for seminars and submitting work on time;
The ability to carry out independent research for which credit will be given in the assessments;
Locating and using relevant hard-copy and electronic sources: seminars will require preparation using material from websites;
Ability to work in groups: half of the seminars will run as workshops in which students work in small groups and organise a short presentation together.
It is true that, on the whole, the British Constitution has developed in a gradual way but this does not mean that it has not undergone dramatic change over the years. Indeed, some of the most profound changes have taken place relatively recently with the United Kingdom's accession to the European Community in 1973. More recently still, there have been the lively debates on the reform of the House of Lords, on devolution and on human rights. The way in which the Constitution has adapted and accommodated changing circumstances is an important theme of the course. Recent legislation on human rights and on devolution, with particular reference to the National Assembly for Wales, will be examined in detail.
Another important issue which the course examines is the extent to which there are limits on the powers of the Government and Parliament. Is it really true that "Parliament has the right to make any law whatever"? Comparisons will be drawn with the constitutions of other states to explore how constitutions attempt to prevent the abuse of power and we will consider whether similar guarantees exist within the British system.
Students may no doubt be aware of the ongoing debate which takes place in relation to certain institutions of the constitution. How should the House of Lords be reformed? What role should the Monarch play in the constitutional system? How much power should be transferred from Westminster to the new devolved legislatures? Throughout the course we will examine those aspects of the Constitution which have been the subject of calls for change and we will consider the proposals for reform which have been advanced by various bodies.
This module aims to introduce students to principles of constitutional law in general and to the British constitutional system in particular to a level which satisfies professional exemption requirements, to encourage independent and critical thought and analysis, to promote skills of group work and to develop skills of independent reading and research.
1. General introduction to Constitutional Law; written and unwritten constitutions; limits on the power of governments; organisation of the powers of government; composition of legislature, executive and judiciary; the separation of powers and checks and balances; introduction to judicial review of legislation; the US and UK systems compared; protection of rights under constitutions; introduction to the programme of constitutional reform in the UK; brief introduction to the Human Rights Act.
2. Sources of the British Constitution; legal rules of the Constitution; Acts of Parliament and delegated legislation; legislation / delegated legislation made in the regional assemblies / parliament; the place of European Community law within the system; an introduction to how European Community law is made; basic doctrines of European Community law; introduction to conventions of the Constitution; problems concerning the identification and enforcement of conventions; the case for codifying conventions; a written constitution for the United Kingdom?
3. The protection of basic rights in the UK; the Human Rights Act 1998; introduction and background; the European Convention on Human Rights; the rights protected; the manner in which the rights are protected; specific legal issues regarding the legislation. [Much of this topic will be covered in seminars rather than in lectures.]
4. Structures and Institutions 1: The territorial structure of the United Kingdom; the unitary constitution of the UK; the constituent parts of the UK; devolution; the Government of Wales Act 1998, the Government of Wales Act 2006, and other devolution legislation.
5. Structures and Institutions 2: Institutions of government in the United Kingdom; supranational, central, regional and local institutions; Lawmaking bodies within the UK; Parliament and the devolved legislatures esp. the National Assembly for Wales - role and composition; division of lawmaking powers; the lawmaking process; Executive power in the UK: institutions, powers, accountability: the Executive; the Crown; central Government - PM, Cabinet, ministers, Departments, the Civil Service and the idea of modern 'extended government' and the role of agencies and privatisation; devolved executives; separation of powers.
6. Basic doctrines of the Constitution of the United Kingdom 1: the doctrine of Parliamentary Sovereignty: the elements of the doctrine of Parliamentary Sovereignty examined; the development and implications of the doctrine examined; transfers of sovereignty to former colonies; union between Scotland and England and Wales; parliamentary sovereignty and devolution; the protection of rights and issues of entrenchment; accession to the European Community (the supremacy of EC law and its accommodation within the UK).
7. Basic doctrines of the Constitution of the United Kingdom 2: Rule of Law; Rule of Law or 'Elective Dictatorship'? meaning of the 'rule of law' and its significance; the rule of law and parliamentary sovereignty; allegations of the existence of an elective dictatorship examined; Human Rights Act and the rule of law.
This module is at CQFW Level 4