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Unit information: Law and State in 2015/16

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Law and State
Unit code LAWD10012
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Psygkas
Open unit status Not open




School/department University of Bristol Law School
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

The unit aims to introduce students to the main legal and political institutions of the UK and international orders of which it is a part; to consider their respective roles in the law-making process, and to understand their interrelationship. Topics include: states and constitutions; parliament; international law; the EU; law-making and judicial interpretation; the executive; regional and local government; the regulatory state.

Intended Learning Outcomes

By the end of this unit a successful student will be able to:

  • Describe the structure of the United Kingdom's constitution and its major institutions of government, as well as their functions and the principles which underpin them. In particular, students will have knowledge of the distinctive features of the British constitution and its place within its multi-layered context of international law, European Union law and human rights law.
  • Describe the institutions of the state and the role of the constitution in regulating relationships between citizens and the state, between states themselves and between states and supranational institutions. The historical development of Parliament, its position of supremacy in law-making, and the relevance of this concept today are all covered.
  • Explain the nature and accountability of the Crown, Government Ministers, the cabinet and central government departments.
  • Understand the relationship between the Parliament at Westminster and devolved governments as well as the role of regulatory bodies in governing, including the relationship between central and local government.
  • Explain the constitutional position and role of the judiciary.
  • Engage in the analysis of complex judicial decisions with multiple opinions.
  • Analyse, synthesise and offer critical evaluation of information, as well as to expound systematically in writing the material in its political and historical context.

Oral communication and presentation skills are also developed but only assessed formatively.

Teaching Information

The unit will be taught by a combination of ten lectures, eight 2-hour seminars and two 2-hour workshops.

Assessment Information

Two summative pieces of coursework of 2,000 words, each contributing 50% to the final mark. One compulsory piece of formative assessment of 1,000 words in length and a presentation.

The formative assessment for this unit is mandatory.

The assessments will assess all of the intended learning outcomes for this unit.

Reading and References

Public Law, Oxford University Press (custom publishing), 2014; J. Jowell & D. Oliver (eds.), The Changing Constitution, Oxford University Press, 8th ed., 2015; A.Tomkins, Public Law, Oxford University Press, 2003; T. Bingham, The Rule of Law, Penguin, 2011.