Public Law

Key information

Start date
End date
Year of study
Year 1
Module code
FHEQ Level
School of Law

Module overview

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. T

he 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.

On successful completion of the module, 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

Objectives and learning outcomes

  • Have acquired knowledge and critical understanding of the established principles of Public Law, and an understanding of the ways in which these principles have evolved
  • Understand the underlying principles that shape Public Law and be able to apply this critical understanding in other contexts
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the different methods used in analysing and arguing about Public
  • Law and critically evaluate the appropriateness of different approaches to solving problems in the field.
  • Have an understanding of the limits of their own knowledge, and an appreciation of how this might shape their analyses and interpretations of the subject
  • Be able to draw on a number of established techniques to undertake critical analysis of problems in Public Law
  • Demonstrate the ability to effectively communicate information, arguments and analysis in a variety of forms
  • Have the ability to proceed to further and more complex study in the field of law, and take on greater responsibility for their own learning in this regard


  • Weekly 2 hour lecture
  • 1 hour tutorial (please see syllabus for details of when tutorials are scheduled)

Method of assessment

  • Coursework: 20% (1250 words)
  • Unseen written exam: 80%

Suggested reading

  • Le Sueur, Sunkin and Murkens, Public Law: Texts, Cases and Materials (4th edn, 2019).


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules.