What you will study
This module covers important aspects of the relationship between the state and the individual in the UK from the perspectives of the four UK nations: Wales, Scotland, England and Northern Ireland. It focuses on understanding the historical development of the UK constitution, key current constitutional issues, and how the future of the UK constitution may look. Throughout the module, you'll learn how to carry out your own research into UK public law. You will study three blocks of content.
The first block introduces the module, its unique elements, and gives you a guide on how to study the module. The following two units then introduce the past and present of the UK constitution and the fundamental principles of UK constitutional law. The final unit introduces two key themes of the module: the perspectives of the four UK nations; and human rights and civil liberties within the constitution.
The second block is divided into two routes and you'll study one of these.
Route A explores the power the state has to act over individuals, and the freedoms and rights individuals have in relation to the state. It starts by considering whether and how the UK state and devolved governments are accountable to the people, then examines contemporary human rights issues. You'll look at how the state can maintain the rule of law when responding to an emergency situation, such as the coronavirus pandemic, and investigate the growing power of the executive branch, especially in light of the UK’s exit from the European Union.
Route B imagines what the UK constitution might look like in the future, in light of its historical evolution and the challenges it faces today. It begins by exploring the differing constitutional histories of the four nations of the UK to understand its present challenges. It goes on to consider how human rights can best be protected in constitutions and may be used to tackle emerging issues in the constitution. You'll look at how to reshape the Union itself and examine the impact of the UK’s exit from the European Union on the structure of the constitution.
The final block builds on everything learned so far to examine a number of aspects of constitutional and administrative law. It begins by exploring the colonial history of the UK and its impact on the current constitution. You'll then consider what sort of underlying values should found a constitution and how constitutions evolve over time to respond to changing societies. You'll study the treatment of minority and outsider groups in the constitution and consider the relationship between individuals, democracy and the constitution. You'll conclude by examining aspects of administrative law, including the nature and impact of law-making by administrative bodies and role of judicial review and the courts in the UK constitution.
United Kingdom public law and the skills developed throughout this module form a compulsory part of any career path into legal practice. The subject knowledge and skills will help to prepare you for any career in law.
If you are intending to study this module as part of the Bachelor of Laws (LLB), and hope to enter the legal professions, you should read our Careers in Law information. There are different entry requirements into the legal professions in England and Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. It is your responsibility to ensure you meet these requirements.