LW5004 - Public Law

What will I learn on this module?

You will develop a critical understanding of the uncodified UK constitution and how it operates. You will critically analyse the doctrines and institutions of the constitution, the checks and balances within the institutions of the state and constitutional change over time. You will develop an understanding of public law within an institutional, national, European and global context. This will build upon the knowledge you have gained in the 1st year module ‘English Legal System and European Union’. You will study both constitutional and administrative law and particularly focus on:

1. Sources and characteristics of the UK constitution
2. Rule of law
3. Parliamentary supremacy
4. Separation of powers
5. Human Rights Act and European Convention on Human Rights
6. Judicial review

How will I learn on this module?

You will study ‘Public Law’ in one 12-week semester. You will learn through webcasts, lectures, workshops and tutor-guided and student-independent learning. The webcasts are an invaluable introduction and should be viewed before each of the lectures which will further introduce you to the major principles of each ‘Public Law’ topic. The lecturer will use historical and current political developments, case law and academic writing to give context to these principles.
The workshops are reliant on you preparing answers and exercises using both tutor-guided and independent learning and research. You will be given directed learning to prepare for workshop tasks which go beyond lecture content and cover specific topics not dealt with in those sessions. Your independent learning will include locating and reading relevant legal source material and will again go beyond both lecture content and directed workshop learning. In workshops you will be able to develop your knowledge by applying your findings to factual scenarios and develop your oral presentation skills by presenting you research findings to the wider group.
The ‘Public Law’ eLP site contains a module handbook which outlines the content of the module. Lecture slides (available in advance), digital lecture recordings and workshop exercises will be made available on the eLP site.

You will receive formative feedback on your knowledge and understanding of public law as well as a number of opportunities to engage with the method of assessment (namely oral presentation) used in the module.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

You will be supported academically in all aspects of ‘Public Law’ delivery and assessment. ‘Public Law’ webcasts are available as a basic but essential introduction to the subject and for use as a revision tool. This is then built on in lectures and finally workshops so that you will develop a breadth and depth of understanding for each inter-related topic. You will receive feedback from your workshop tutor on your preparation for each workshop and your participation in group and class discussions. The workshops are also designed to give you increasing experience and confidence in making oral presentations. Your tutor and your fellow students will give you formative feedback on your presentations to the class so that your research, analysis and presentation skills are honed in preparation for your final oral assessment. You will study the marking scheme for your oral assessment in advance and you will receive detailed feedback once completed.

Public Law is a complex subject and you may communicate with your module or workshop tutor via the module’s eLP discussion board, by e-mail or telephone at any time and you are encouraged to make contact if you encounter any difficulties with the module.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:

You will be able to demonstrate a knowledge and critical understanding of the inter-related development, doctrines, principles and rules of the uncodified UK constitution and its administration. You will be able to initiate and undertake critical analysis of public law topics within an institutional, national, European and global context. (K 1 – 3)

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:

You will develop your research skills and understand how to apply a range of source materials to address imprecise problems in public law. You will be able to identify ambiguous and uncertain legal doctrines and be able to propose reasoned and alternative solutions. You will develop your oral presentation skills to specialist and non-specialist audiences and be able to support your position through a critical judgment of the merits of particular academic and legal arguments. (I1 – 3)

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA)

You will develop intellectual independence by being able to ask and answer cogent questions about constitutional and administrative law, identifying gaps in your knowledge and acquiring new knowledge through directed and independent research. (2 &3)

How will I be assessed?

Formative assessment The workshops are designed to give you increasing experience of and confidence in making oral presentations. Your tutor and your peers will give you immediate oral feedback on your oral presentations through appraisal, questioning and guidance. You will also receive tutor and peer feedback on your preparation for and engagement in workshops by way of group and class exercises and discussion.

Summative Assessment is by way of an individual oral presentation of 10 minutes in length which constitutes 100% of the marks for the module.

Assessment criteria are provided in advance to enable you to understand what is expected of you and how your presentation will be judged. You will be provided with detailed written feedback on your oral assessment and written report. This feedback will promote your own reflective development for the final year/s of your degree.





Module abstract

Public law is the law that governs the state and its relationship with its citizens. You will learn about the historical development and current state of the UK’s uncodified constitution and study fundamental legal concepts such as the rule of law, separation of powers and parliamentary supremacy. The Human Rights Act and the European Convention on Human Rights are studied in some detail, as is the individual right to challenge decisions of the state through judicial review. The module is examined through a single oral assessment which is based on your own independent library-based and online legal research. You will find that the knowledge, research and presentation skills developed on this module are essential for the final years of your degree and later career development, be that in the law or any other profession.

Course info

UCAS Code M101

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years full-time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Northumbria Law School

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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