The University of Southampton
Courses

LAWS1026 Public Law 1: Foundations

Module Overview

This Module, the first of two Public Law Modules, considers fundamental questions of constitutionalism common to both UK and EU legal orders. You will examine the UK Governmental and European Union (EU) institutions, the separation of power between them, and the modes of exercise of power in the UK and EU. This includes the differing legal competences of the domestic and European actors, and the reasons for those differences, as well as the interaction between the two regimes. You will examine the importance of values such as the rule of law, the separation of powers and the conferral of powers, in shaping the understanding of constitutionalism in both legal orders. An important aspect of this module will be to study the theory, enforcement and application of rights in the UK and EU legal order. In particular, you will study the common law protection of rights in the UK and the impact of the Human Rights Act 1998 in implementing the human rights guarantees of the European Convention of Human Rights. You will also appreciate and examine the importance of rights in the EU legal system, including the growing significance of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and the function of economic rights in the internal market. Finally, you will be introduced to the rules of administrative law which prevail in each jurisdiction and the conceptions of administrative justice which stand behind those.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

This Module provides a foundation for understanding key public law institutions and principles both in the UK and EU. The module aims to explore the intersection between the two legal orders and the common values that underpin them.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • the composition and functions of the key legal actors and institutions of the UK Government and European Union
  • the nature, functions and basic doctrines of the UK constitution and the salient features of the foundation treaties of the EU
  • the key sources of the UK constitution and EU law
  • the impact of membership of the European Union upon the UK constitution
  • the concept of constitutionalism in the UK and EU: including the values that inform our understanding of this concept such as: Rule of Law, Separation of Powers and Conferral of Powers
  • the significance of the rights protection in the UK following the enactment of the Human Rights Act 1998, including discussions about reforms to the Human Rights Act and the Charter of Fundamental Rights and its application in the EU and the UK
  • critically examine economic rights and the internal market
  • principles of Administrative Justice in the UK and EU and an overview of the grounds of Judicial Review
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • critically assess the nature and role of law in the UK and the European Union
  • thorough engage with primary sources of UK constitutional and European Union law
  • interpret, analyse and critically comment upon the relevant jurisprudence of the UK courts and the CJEU
  • propose clear, well-structured and developed solutions to address controversial questions of UK Constitutional and EU law, and evaluate others’ proposals
  • construct complex arguments clearly and coherently in order to pose cogent questions about rights and values in Public Law
  • engage in critical analysis and reflection about the political, social and legal context of rights protection and application in both the EU and UK including economic rights in the internal market
  • adeptly analyse legal and non-legal sources relevant to the topic of administrative law and administrative justice in the context of both the English and European legal systems
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • analyse in depth relevant primary and secondary source materials
  • critically evaluate specific rules studied and others’ arguments
  • construct and present clear and coherent written argument on complex issues
  • identify and analyse in depth key policy issues
  • identify strengths and weaknesses in competing arguments, including academic and policy arguments

Syllabus

• The institutions of the domestic constitution and the UK • The separation of powers ideal: its actualisation (or not) within each of the two legal order • The reasons for and history of the development of the EU • The sources of legal authority in the UK and the EU • The forms of law: primary and secondary legislation in the UK; the EU Treaties and acts of the EU Institutions (including directives, regulations, decisions) • The relationship between the two legal orders: including direct effect and supremacy, indirect effect and state liability, the ECA 1972 and Parliamentary sovereignty; the preliminary reference procedure • The concept of constitutionalism • The importance of values and principles in domestic and EU law • Rule of Law, Separation of Powers and Conferral of Power in the UK and EU legal orders • The Common Law as a source of rights • The Human Rights Act 1998 and the Convention of Human Rights • The Charter of Fundamental Rights • Economic Rights and the EU internal market • Administrative Justice and grounds of review

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include: • Two hours of lectures each week, providing an overview of the module content and, where appropriate, offering a detailed discussion of specific elements of module content. • Ten hours of tutorials per semester, in which small groups will discuss material read in advance; this will primarily consist of cases relevant to that tutorial’s topic, and the application of the rules which emerge out of that reading. Learning activities include: • Directed Reading as per distributed reading lists. • Independent research to add to core knowledge, where appropriate • Preparation of answers to problem questions in advance of seminars. • Class discussion including small group work. • Completion of a summative examination.

TypeHours
Tutorial20
Completion of assessment task30
Lecture42
Revision50
Wider reading or practice8
Preparation for scheduled sessions150
Total study time300

Resources & Reading list

UK Public Law and Human Rights. 

Le Suer, Sunkin & Murkens (2016). Public Law: Text Cases and Materials. 

Dadomo and Quenivet (2015). European Union Law. 

Blackstone's Statutes: EU Treaties and Legislation. 

Assessment

Formative

Coursework

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Closed book Examination  (2 hours) 70%
Essay  (2500 words) 30%

Repeat

MethodPercentage contribution
Closed book Examination  (2 hours) 70%
Essay  (2500 words) 30%

Referral

MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (2 hours) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Costs

Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Textbooks

Purchase of relevant set textbook(s) plus statute books (UK Public Law and Human Rights and EU Treaties and Legislation).

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at www.calendar.soton.ac.uk.

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