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School of Law

Public law

Course Code:
Unit value:
Year of study:
Year 2
Taught in:
Full Year
This course provides an introduction to the basic principles of public law and administrative law. The course aims to familiarise students with the nature and purpose of the British constitution, the working of the institutions of the state, as well as the ways in which these institutions are rendered subject to legal control mechanisms. Within this framework, the course also adopts a comparative perspective which takes in elements of the public law of the European Union and the public law of selected African and Asian states.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

On successful completion of the course, a student will:

  • 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

Assessment weighting: One 3000 word essay, worth 30%; one unseen examination, worth 70%. Resubmission of coursework regulations do apply to this course.

Suggested reading

Key Texts
  • Barnett, Hilaire (2008). Constitutional & Administrative Law. 7th edition, Routledge-Cavendish.
  • Elliott, M.; Beatson, J. and M.H. Matthews (2005). Beatson, Matthews, and Elliott's Administrative Law: Text and Materials. 3rd edition, Oxford University Press.
  • Leyland, Peter (2007). The constitution of the United Kingdom: A Contextual Analysis. Hart Publishing.
  • Leyland, Peter and Gordon Anthony (2005). Textbook on Administrative Law. 5th edition, Oxford University Press.