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, separation of powers and 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
Transferable and Generic Skills
Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:
- identify strengths and weaknesses in competing arguments, including academic and policy arguments
- critically evaluate specific rules studied and others' arguments
- analyse in depth relevant primary and secondary source materials
- identify and analyse key policy issues
- construct and present clear and coherent written argument on complex issues
Knowledge and Understanding
Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:
- the nature, functions and basic doctrines of the UK constitution and the salient features of the foundation treaties of the EU
- critically examine economic rights and the internal market
- the composition and functions of the key legal actors and institutions of the UK Government and European Union
- the impact of changing 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
- principles of Administrative Justice in the UK and EU and an overview of the grounds of Judicial Review.
- the key sources of the UK constitution and EU law
- 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
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills
Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:
- 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
- critically assess the nature and role of law in the UK and the European Union
- thoroughly engage with primary sources of UK constitutional and European Union law
- 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
The following topics are indicative of the issues covered in this module:
- 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.
|Wider reading or practice||8|
|Completion of assessment task||30|
|Preparation for scheduled sessions||150|
|Total study time||300|
Resources & Reading list
Other Resources. The principal library resources exist through the library's existing holdings (including electronic). The module will also be supported by provisions in the 'Blackboard' learning platform.
Hall and Stott (2015). Blackstones Statutes: EU Treaties and Legislation.
Le Sueur, Sunkin and Murkens (2016). Public Law: Text Cases and Materials. Oxford University Press.
UK Public Law and Human Rights.
Dadomo and Quenivet (2015). European Union Law. Hall and Stott.
This is how we’ll give you feedback as you are learning. It is not a formal test or exam.Examination Examination Tutorial
This is how we’ll formally assess what you have learned in this module.
This is how we’ll assess you if you don’t meet the criteria to pass this module.
An internal repeat is where you take all of your modules again, including any you passed. An external repeat is where you only re-take the modules you failed.
Repeat type: Internal & External