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Durham University

Faculty Handbook Archive

Archive Module Description

This page is for the academic year 2018-19. The current handbook year is 2022-23

Department: Law


Type Open Level 2 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2018/19 Module Cap Location Durham


  • Introduction to English Law and Legal Method (LAW 1121) [OR Legal Skills (LAW 1107) AND Legal System of England and Wales (LAW 1117); OR Legal Skills (LAW 1041)]; and EU Constitutional Law (LAW 1061) and The Individual and the State (LAW 1081) and UK Constitutional Law (LAW 1091).


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • Administrative Law (LAW 2031); depending on choice of subject areas below.


  • To develop an understanding of specialized aspects of public law, including human rights and administrative law, to be chosen from six topic areas, encompassing advanced doctrinal, theoretical, and socio-legal materials and concepts, representing some of the main research areas in public law in the Law School and aiming in particular to enhance the student’s experience of research-led teaching.


  • Discrimination and Equality Law and Theory
  • Constitutional Theory
  • Comparative Constitutional Law
  • Bills of Rights and the Human Rights Act
  • The Horizonal Effect of Constitutional Rights and the Public/Private Divide
  • Advanced Issues in Judicial Review
  • Terrorism and Human Rights
  • Public Protest and Direct Action
  • Police Powers and Suspects' Rights
  • Proportionality
  • Advanced Issues in European Human Rights Law
  • Privacy in Comparative Perspective

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Students will have:
  • A thorough knowledge of the intellectual topography of selected issues in public law.
  • A demonstrably in-depth knowledge of certain key issues.
  • A familiarity with the secondary literature and debates surrounding key issues.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Students should be able to:
  • interpret and critically evaluate relevant international treaty provisions, domestic law, general principles and theoretical approaches;
  • identify key reasoning tools employed by international and constitutional courts in resolving public law issues and be capable of applying these to new situations and legal provisions;
  • appreciate how cultural, social and historical factors affect legal approaches to key public law problems
Key Skills:
  • Students should be able to:
  • demonstrate an ability to understand and critically analyse a wide variety of complex issues, drawing on comparative and theoretical materials;
  • develop expertise in conducting research into materials from a variety of national and international sources;
  • describe accurately and comprehensibly the arguments and analysis of other commentators
  • write in a clear and structured way and to put forward ideas in a scholarly manner
  • demonstrate an ability to explore complex issues creatively in writing.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • The course will be taught through a series of twelve two-hour seminars. This format is calculated to encourage pre-session reading and preparation followed by in depth discussion. Each of six topics will be taught in two seminars, but all of the topics will be cross-referenced by the teaching team and themes will be developed. The assessment will be through a summatively assessed paper with a formatively assessed draft, followed by an unseen exam at the end of the year. The exam will feature at least two questions designed to cut across topics and ensure that students have attained the required substantive knowledge and analytical skills. The formative and summative papers, based on student choice of one of the topics taught, will ensure that students have met the research, analysis, and communication objectives.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Seminars 12 Fortnightly 2hrs 24
Staff office hours 28 Normally weekly during Michaelmas, Epiphany and Easter Terms 1 hour 28
Preparation and reading 148

Summative Assessment

Component: Summative Essay Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
summative essay 4000 words 100%
Component: Examination Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Written examination 2hrs 30mins 100%

Formative Assessment:

One 2,000 word essay. This will take the form of a draft section of the eventual summative essay.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University