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Module SXL-1110:
Public Law

Module Facts

Run by School of Law

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1 & 2

Organiser: Mr Stephen Clear

Overall aims and purpose

Public law (sometimes called constitutional and administrative law) is concerned with the law governing the institutions of the state, and the relationship between the state and the individual.

The aims of this module are:

  1. To provide students with a comprehensive overview of the concepts and characteristics of public law in the United Kingdom, including constitutional, administrative and human rights law.
  2. To enable students to explain and analyse the key principles and debates within public law whilst drawing on relevant academic scholarship.
  3. To enable students to relate United Kingdom public law to the particular circumstances in which it developed and in which it currently operates.

The module will enable students to explain and analyse the key principles of public law whilst drawing on relevant academic scholarship. It will also enable students to relate United Kingdom public law to the particular circumstances in which it developed and in which it currently operates (including the law pertaining to human rights, devolution, constitutional reform, and Brexit).

Course content

The module comprises two distinct areas of law: constitutional law and administrative law. In addition, it provides students with an introduction to human rights law and the key provisions of the Human Rights Act 1998. Lectures on constitutional law include the sources of constitutional law, constitutional doctrines, the institutions of the Constitution and the influence of human rights law and EU Law on the Constitution. The section of the course devoted to administrative law provides an introduction to this area of law and focuses on the role of the judiciary and the workings of judicial review.

Assessment Criteria


  • Comprehensive knowledge
  • Detailed understanding
  • Extensive background study
  • Highly focussed answer and well structured
  • Logically presented and defended arguments
  • No factual/computational errors
  • Original interpretation
  • New links between topics are developed
  • New approach to a problem
  • Excellent presentation with very accurate communication


  • Strong knowledge
  • Understands most but not all
  • Evidence of background study
  • Focussed answer with good structure
  • Arguments presented coherently
  • Mostly free from factual/computational errors
  • Some limited original interpretation
  • Well known links between topics are described
  • Problems addressed by existing methods/approaches
  • Good presentation with accurate communication


  • Knowledge of key areas/principles only
  • Weaknesses in understanding of main areas
  • Limited evidence of background study
  • Answer only poorly focussed on question and with some irrelevant material and poor structure
  • Arguments presented but lack coherence
  • Several factual/computational errors
  • No original interpretation
  • Only major links between topics are described
  • Limited problem solving
  • Many weaknesses in presentation and accuracy

Learning outcomes

  1. Demonstrate a basic understanding of the major constitutional doctrines (including parliamentary supremacy, the rule of law, and the separation of powers), the institutions of the Constitution and sources of constitutional law.

  2. Describe the constitutional arrangements for Wales.

  3. Demonstrate a basic understanding of the contexts (historical, political) in which constitutional law operates and in which recent constitutional reform has taken place.

  4. Be aware of the influence of EU law and human rights law (European and domestic) on the Constitution.

  5. Show developing skills in applying basic knowledge of administrative law to actual or hypothetical factual scenarios.

  6. Undertake legal research in relation to basic debates surrounding public law issues.

  7. Describe the workings of the Human Rights Act 1998 and its impact on the workings of public authorities.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
ESSAY Summative Assignment 40
EXAM Semester 2 Exam 60

Teaching and Learning Strategy


The module will be taught by means of 36 hours of lectures and 8 hours of tutorials, both taught over the course of two semesters. Tutorials will routinely require students to engage individually and in groups in acquiring, commenting upon, critically evaluating and applying the principles and details of the subject under the guidance and instruction of the tutor.


The module will be taught by means of 36 hours of lectures covering the topics set out in the course content and to achieve learning outcomes 1-5.

Private study 156

Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others

Subject specific skills

  • Develop the ability to interpret legal rules and employ techniques of legal reasoning competently and efficiently in order to offer a range of solutions and conclusions to actual or hypothetical complex legal problems, all supported by relevant academic literature, jurisprudence and legislative research. Such solutions will be clearly communicated and presented
  • Develop the ability to analyse complex legal issues, set against the background of the political, social, economic or cultural contexts in which they may arise
  • Develop those skills which are necessary for scholarship and research in legal subjects, namely the ability to identify relevant primary and secondary legal sources and to retrieve accurate legal information using paper and electronic sources


Pre- and Co-requisite Modules

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses: