SOAS University of London

School of Law

Public Law

Course Code:
Unit value:
Year of study:
Year 2
Taught in:
Full Year
The module is divided into three main parts. The first part of the module is designed to provide an introduction to the study constitutional law and to constitutional theory; crucially we also look at critical accounts of constitutionalism, and situate the British constitution in a broader, global context. The second part of the module focuses on the core principles of the British constitution and the role of Parliament. It focuses on the three main principles of the constitution and assesses the place of Parliament within the modern constitution. The third part of the module looks in detail at the practice of the modern constitution and the role of the courts. It covers judicial review, the Human Rights Act 1998 and a number of case studies of constitutional change

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

  • Have acquired a basic knowledge of the nature and purpose of constitutions.
  • Be able to assess the extent and efficiency of various control mechanisms, in particular, the legitimacy and extent of judicial controls.
  • Be able to explain how courts protect fundamental rights and render administrative action subject to law.
  • Be able to develop their own considered views on particular aspects of governmental arrangements in the context of diverse methods and theories of public law.
  • Have gained an understanding of the embeddedness of public law within dynamic social and political contexts.
  • Be able to construct credible legal arguments with reference to general public law principles as well as specific judicial decisions

Method of assessment

  • Coursework: 30% (3000 words)
  • Unseen written exam: 70%

Suggested reading

  • Elliott, Mark and Thomas, Robert, Public Law (2nd edn, OUP 2014).
  • Thompson, Brian and Gordon, Michael, Cases and Materials on Constitutional and Administrative Law (11th edn, OUP 2014).
  • Loughlin, Martin, The British Constitution: A Very Short Introduction (OUP 2014).


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules