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2010/1 Module Catalogue
 Module Code: LAW1002 Module Title: PUBLIC LAW
Module Provider: School of Law Short Name: LAW105
Level: HE1 Module Co-ordinator: MARRIOTT JE Dr (Schl of Law)
Number of credits: 30 Number of ECTS credits: 15
Module Availability
  • Run once, throughout the year
  • 2½ hours per week (two 1 hour lectures and one tutorial fortnightly)
Assessment Pattern
Components of Assessment
Percentage weighting (%)
Module Overview
Module Aims
This module analyses governance in context in the United Kingdom. Understanding public authority and protections against its abuse is the primary objective of the module. Comparisons are made with other constitutional and administrative systems.    Public institutions at European, national, devolved and local levels are explained.   The relationships between the legislatures, executive authorities and judicial authorities are covered. Civil liberties, the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and the impact of the Human Rights Act 1998 are discussed. The module considers the tension between governance and individual rights. The ethical values, philosophical principles and practical implications relating to this tension will be explored.
Understanding public authority and protections against its abuse is the primary objective of the module. Judicial review and the impact of the Human Rights Act 1998 are discussed. The module considers the tension between balancing efficient administration and safe-guarding individual rights. The ethical values, philosophical principles and practical implications relating to this tension will be explored.
The module aims to provide students with an understanding of the UK constitution and the various contexts in which it operates. Students address such questions as:
  • Where does power lie in the UK constitution?
  • Who has the ultimate constitutional power?
  • What is the relationship between UK and EC law?
  • What principles govern the UK?
  • What is the relationship between the state and the individual in the UK?
  • Who can correct a badly made decision on the part of an authority that affects an individual?
  • How are civil liberties protected in the UK?
Learning Outcomes
At the end of the module, students are able to:
  1. Demonstrate a basic understanding of the nature and operation of the UK constitution in context;
  2. Demonstrate a basic knowledge of the doctrines and concepts which inform an understanding of the UK constitution;
  3. Identify the main organs of government in the UK and the relationships between them;
  4. Identify the main organs of government in the European Union and their respective powers and functions;
  5. Analyse the impact of membership of the European Union on the UK legal system;
  6. Identify the sources and content of civil and human rights protected in UK law;
  7. Analyse the impact of the Human Rights Act 1998;
  8. Identify court structures and procedures relating to administrative law;
  9. Identify the limits of judicial control of the executive;
  10. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the difference between public and private law decisions;
  11. Evaluate critically the concept of unreasonableness in decision making;
  12. Evaluate critically the concept of proportionality in decision making;
  13. Apply the principles of natural justice to decision making bodies;
  14. Apply acquired knowledge to non-complex problems;
  15. Apply constitutional theories and principles to substantive issues;
  16. Undertake directed legal research to locate relevant materials.
Module Content
  1. Sources of constitutional law
  2. Prerogative and Conventions
  3. Parliament and sovereignty
  4. Rule of Law and Separation concepts
  5. The European Union: law, supremacy and UK context
  6. Challenges to Sovereignty
  7. Citizenship, Democracy, and law creation
  8. Substantive human rights
  9. Executive powers and administration
  10. Public Interest Immunity and state security
  11. Judicial Review; public law and private law distinctions
  12. Judicial Review; illegality
  13. Judicial Review; irrationality
  14. Judicial Review; proportionality and the effect of the European Convention on Human Rights
  15. Natural Justice
  16. Challenges to decision making; standing in the Administrative Court
  17. Civil liberties and police powers
  18. Open Government and official secrecy
Methods of Teaching/Learning
Learning is a student-centred process and students must undertake individual reading and research.
Teaching will be by a combination of lectures, tutorials and ULearn activities. Lectures will provide a structured outline and an introductory critique of topics and concepts. Tutorials will focus on discussion of selected topics and concepts, with some non-complex problem solving. Some case reading and discussion tasks are delivered in ULearn.
Students will be expected to attend lectures and tutorials. Students will be expected to have prepared for lectures and tutorials and to be able to participate fully.
The tutorial cycle starts in week 6 and week 7 of the Autumn Semester. The Spring Semester timetable is not yet available and students will be informed of the Public Law lecture and tutorial slots for the Spring Semester in due course.
Selected Texts/Journals
Recomended Purchase
Barnett, H., Constitutional and Administrative Law (London: Cavendish, 2006) 6th Ed.
Wallington & Lee Blackstone’s Statutes on Public Law and Human Rights 2006-2007 (Oxford: OUP, 2006)
In preparation for the course, you should familiarise yourself with the UK Government and recent political news as reported in the quality press. The following texts are recommended background reading:
Rawnsley, A., Servants of the People (London: Penguin, 2001) 2nd ed.
Robertson, G., Freedom, The Individual and The Law (Penguin, 8th ed, 2001)
Key Support Resources
You will be expected to be familiar with, and to have undertaken the set reading of, the following texts, all available in the Library:
Allen, M. and Thompson, B., Cases and Materials on Constitutional and Administrative Law (Oxford: OUP, 2002) 7th Ed.
Barendt, E., Introduction to Constitutional Law (Oxford: OUP, 1998)
Douglas-Scott, S., Constitutional Law of the European Union (Harlow: Pearson, 2002)
Jowell, J., and Oliver, D., The Changing Constitution (Oxford: OUP, 2004) 5th Ed.
Loveland, I. Constitutional Law, Administrative Law and Human Rights (Oxford: OUP, 4th edition, 2006)
Munro, C., Studies in Constitutional Law (London: Butterworths, 2nd Edition, 1999)
Bagehot, W., The English Constitution (London: Collins, 1963), with introduction by RHS Crossman
Blackburn, R., and Plant, R., Constitutional Reform (London: Longmans, 1999)
Brazier, R., Constitutional Practice (Oxford: OUP, 1994) 2nd Ed.
Cohen, S., States of Denial (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2001)
Dicey, A.V., Introduction to the Study of the Law of the Constitution (London: Macmillan, 1959) 10th Ed., with introduction. by E.C.S. Wade
Hailsham of St Marylebone, Quintin Hogg, On the Constitution (London: HarperCollins, 1992)
Jennings, I., Law and the Constitution (London: University of London Press, 1959) 5th Ed.
Riddell, P., Parliament under Pressure (London: Gollancz, 1997)
Other Textbooks
Bradley, A.W., and Ewing, K.D., Constitutional and Administrative Law (Harlow: Person, 2007) 14th Ed.
Jackson, P., and Leopold, P., O. Hood Phillips and Jackson, Constitutional and Administrative Law (London: Sweet & Maxwell, 2001) 8th Ed.
Leyland, P., and Woods, T., Textbook on Administrative Law (London: Blackstone, 1999) 3rd Ed.
Pollard, D., Parpworth, N., and Hughes, D. Constitutional and Administrative Law, Text and Materials (London: Butterworths, 2001) 3rd Ed.
Thompson, B., Textbook on Constitutional & Administrative Law (London: Blackstone, 1997) 3rd Ed.
Turpin, C., British Government and the Constitution, Text, Cases and Materials (London: Butterworths, 1999) 4th Ed.
Woolf, H., Jowell, J., and Le Sueur, A., De Smith, Woolf & Jowell’s Principles of Judicial Review (London: Sweet & Maxwell, 1999)
All England Law Reports (All ER)
Cambridge Law Journal (CLJ)
Civil Justice Quarterly (CJQ)
Common Market Law Reports (CMLR)
European Court Reports (ECR)
European Human Rights Law Review (EHRLR)
European Human Rights Reports (EHRR)
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