Constitutional law, the area of law dealing with the relationship between a government and its citizens, underpins all other areas of law. Indeed, it is fundamental to the daily lives of us all, and as such forms an integral part of any law course undertaken at undergraduate level. This course aims to provide students with an introduction to the nature of a constitution, and specifically, the constitutional structure within the United Kingdom.
The course begins by exploring the notion of a constitution: what one is, why a country needs one, the different forms it can take, and the type of constitution that we have in the UK. We then explore the key bodies that are involved in passing legislation related to the constitution in the UK – the executive, legislature, and judiciary – and the relationship between these bodies. As we do so, we will examine the principles and conventions which have overarching influence over these three bodies and provide limitations to their power, delving into such notions as the separation of powers, parliamentary sovereignty and the rule of law. Alongside this we will explore the European Union and its impact on national constitutional law.
This course will provide an exciting introduction into the type of law that governs how we all live. Whether you are considering pursuing a legal career or have a keen interest in law, it will lay the foundations for further study in one of the most hotly-debated areas of law, and will help to develop skills in critical reasoning and engagement with the subject as a whole.
During the course, students will…
By the end of the course, students will be able to…
This tutorial will begin by introducing what a constitution is and the forms it can take, discussing the similarities and differences between codified and uncodified constitutions. It will then introduce the three key constitutional bodies in the UK: the courts, legislature, and executive, exploring their individual rules as well as how they inter-relate, a fundamental topic within constitutional law.
It is often argued that parliamentary legislative supremacy (sovereignty) is the key component of the UK Constitution. This tutorial will introduce this concept, moving from Dicey’s original ‘pure’ conception to Bogdanor’s ‘New Constitution’. We will assess whether or not parliament has ever been truly sovereign, and whether it still is today. The latter half of the tutorial will consider this issue in relation to the incorporation of EU law into UK law, questioning whether this has finally abrogated the supremacy of parliament.
The rule of law is an extremely complicated subject, so the focus of the third tutorial will be on introducing the concept in a very broad manner. We will then explore the two forms that theories of the rule of law take, procedural and substantive, and the relative merits of each. As we do so, we will come across the opinions of some of the most influential legal academics.
This final tutorial will consider the impact that membership of the EU has had on the UK constitution. In particular, it will focus on the Human Rights Act and the European Convention on Human Rights, outlining the effects that this has had on the lives of ordinary citizens as well as on the government.
|Course Pre-requisites||Advanced level of EnglishAn interest and enthusiasm for law|
|Course Level||For students applying to university to study Law.|
|Prior Knowledge||A basic understanding of the law and an interest in politics.ORA's Introduction to Law course is recommended pre-learning.Other than that, an enthusiasm to learn more is all that is required!|
|Workload||4-6 hours (further independent study is encouraged)|