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Public Law

30 Credits

The purpose of the Public Law course is to introduce students to the methods and purposes of public law, comprising constitutional and administrative law of the United Kingdom. The course introduces students firstly to the ‘unwritten’, uncodified British Constitution and encourages comparison with codified (written) constitutions. Students will learn to analyse essential legal scholars’ writings, primary and secondary legislation, common law authorities, conventions, the Royal Prerogative, human rights and EU law – all of which make up the sources of the UK Constitution.

The course asks for reflection on the rule of law and separation of powers which make up a democratic state and help regulate the modern state and contemporary British society. The course also focuses on constitutional reform which underlines the flexibility of an uncodified constitution, including devolution in the UK (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland). The second part of the course focuses on grounds for judicial review, key human rights issues in relation to citizen and the state (i.e. the power of the executive). Finally the use of police powers in public demonstrations, surveillance powers, the citizens’ right to peaceful demonstration, riots and terrorism legislation.

Students are required to appreciate the intellectual, historical and political context wherein public law plays an important part in public life in relation to public authorities. By undertaking independent reading (including leading authorities and the use of legal databases) students learn to develop critical understanding of the modern development of constitutional reform in an ever-changing constitutional environment, thereby engaging in scholarly legal debates and developing skills in interpreting legal texts and authorities. They also learn how to present oral and written legal argument in a scholarly fashion.

*Required for the Qualifying Law Degree