module specification

LL5001 - Public Law (2023/24)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2023/24
Module title Public Law
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 30
School Guildhall School of Business and Law
Total study hours 300
219 hours Guided independent study
81 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 50%   Written Coursework (2,000 - 2,500 words)
Seen Examination 50%   Time Constrained Examination
Running in 2023/24

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
No instances running in the year

Module summary

This module provides a contextual introduction to the central areas of UK Public Law. It provides a detailed examination of the history, nature and workings of the UK’s constitution. It also considers the principles of administrative law with particular emphasis on the procedure and substantive grounds for judicial review in English law.

The aims of the module are to provide students with a working knowledge and understanding of the evolving framework of legal and non-legal obligations which apply between the State and the citizen and between different organs of the State/government.

It will enable students to develop a critical understanding of the extent and efficiency of control on governmental bodies, in particular, the legitimacy and extent of parliamentary and judicial oversight mechanisms. It will enable students to apply legal principles to theoretical examples in order to draw conclusions and give advice to the citizen. 

The module aims to develop several key transferable skills including independent
research, critical analysis and academic writing in the context of UK public law and human rights, emphasising the use of primary and secondary sources of law.

Student employability will be enhanced by the development both of these skills, and by
the practise of written and oral communication skills, group participation skills and IT skills (for both research and presentation).


Topics for Written Assignment

1. Nature of Constitutions    LO 1

Types, written, unwritten, others.

2. Sources of the UK Constitution

Constitutional principles
The idea of the separation of powers
The rule of law
Sovereignty of Parliament
The impact of EU law (pre & post Brexit)
The Human Rights Act

3. The UK State

Parliament and reform of the House of Lords
The Executive including the Civil Service
Powers of the Prime Minister
Responsible government
The independence of the judiciary including judicial control of prerogative power (‘Miller’).

Topics for Written Examination   LO 2

4. Introduction to Administrative Law

5. The modern Administrative State

6. Judicial Review

Judicial review procedure
Judicial review substantive grounds
Illegality, irrationality and proportionality
Human Rights and EU law on irrationality doctrine
Procedural impropriety
Breach of statutory procedural rules
Breach of the rules of natural justice
Nature of natural justice protection.


Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Learning & Teaching Strategy

Weekly two-hour lecture and one-hour seminar. 

The lecture will be used for:

Dissemination of knowledge through an overview of each topic with detailed guidance on appropriate aspects;
An introduction to relevant academic literature;
Guidance on learning strategies;
Use of blackboard and IT resources;
Whole group questions and discussion.

The seminar will be used for:

Development of skills necessary to attain the module learning outcomes through:
Written and oral questions/answers designed to reinforce fundamental rules/principles/cases;
A range of step by step writing exercises;
IT tasks such as research of cases and statutes
Critical analysis
Legal writing

Blended Learning

All learning materials, previous examination questions and sample Q/A’s will be on blackboard for use in directed private study.

Student engagement will be encouraged in both lectures and seminars through weekly use of Weblearn for access to all of the above materials.

There will be required use of the professional legal databases, especially Westlaw and Lexis Library, for legal research

Opportunities for reflective learning/pdp

Each weekly seminar will contain space for students to reflect on what they have learnt in relation to the overall syllabus. There will be frequent feedback opportunities structured into the timetable and a range of sample answers posted onto Weblearn.


Employability strategy will aim to acquaint students with a range of employment avenues both in the legal profession and in those professions into which legal qualifications and skills are transferable.

Student’s Study Responsibilities

The need for attendance, punctuality, preparation and engagement will be emphasised with particular reference to written and IT research, problem-solving, team-work, discussion, debate and critical awareness of the subject.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, the students will be able to:

1. Independently research, critically analysis and appraise the fundamental principles of UK Public Law.

2. Demonstrate the ability to use legal terminology, solve legal problems and analyse contemporary issues relating to Administrative Law in a time-constrained environment.

Assessment strategy

Description of assessment items.

1. Written Coursework (2,000 – 2,500 words)

Independent research based essay and/or problem-based case study involving critical analysis and appraisal of fundamental principles of UK Public Law.

2. Time Constrained Examination

To demonstrate the ability to solve legal problems and critically analyse contemporary issues relating to Administrative Law in a time-constrained environment.


Core Texts:
Barnett, H, Constitutional & Administrative Law (Routledge)

Other Texts:

Leyland, P, Textbook on Administrative Law (OUP)
Doherty, M, Public Law (Routledge)
Beatson, J, Mathew and Elliott’s Administrative Law (OUP)


Public Law Journal
Law Quarterly Review


Electronic Databases:

Westlaw and Lexis Library