Current Issues in Public Law

The details
Essex Law School
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 6
Sunday 17 January 2021
Friday 26 March 2021
21 October 2020


Requisites for this module



Key module for


Module description

This module builds on Foundations of Public Law. The research-led teaching for this module provides insights into several areas of public law that are not always available in standard texts and are designed to enable detailed consideration of issues that are of current importance and the subject of research within the School of Law.

Module aims

This module builds on LW103 Foundations of Public Law and examines in depth some of the key current issues in Public Law. With this mind, the topics on the syllabus will be approached flexibly and may be adjusted from year to year.

For 2019-20 we’ll be examining: the State of the Union, devolution and independence; the constitutional implications of Brexit; the current state of human rights protection and whether this is in need of reform; and the question whether the UK should codify the constitution.

Module learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of the module, students will be able to demonstrate:

• in-depth understanding and critical appreciation of several areas of public law

• understanding of how principles of public law function in different contexts

• appreciation of socio-legal and comparative methods

• ability to identify and use a variety of primary and secondary source materials

• ability to devise a research question, carry out and reflect on the process of undertaking a small-scale research project into a topic of public law, with limited guidance.

Module information

There are two versions of this module. It is important you know which one you are enrolled in as the learning outcomes and assessment differ, as explained below.

The reading, lectures and seminars are the same for both versions.

Learning and teaching methods

This module consists of weekly lectures. Each week, the module teaching team will first produce and make available on Moodle two 25-minute pre-recorded video lectures. The module teaching team will then deliver a weekly live 50-minute lecture in which they further explore key legal concepts and answer your questions about the topics. These lectures will subsequently be available online through Moodle so that you can re-watch them as part of your independent study. Alongside this, there will be five bi-weekly 50-minute small group tutorials. The module teaching team will also produce and make available on Moodle short guidance notes. These notes will introduce both the material to be covered in lectures and the readings that must be completed in advance of each tutorial. The notes will also contain tips designed both to help you navigate the material to be covered in the lectures and to analyse set readings.

You will be expected to have completed required readings in advance of your tutorials. Your tutorials will enable you to discuss both the material covered in lectures and the required readings, obtain feedback on your pre-class preparation and deepen your understanding of key concepts. To help you prepare in the best possible way for your tutorials, you will be completing regular Multiple-Choice Quizzes on Moodle. The quizzes will be based on the reading set for that week so that the quiz forms part of your preparation for each tutorial. The quizzes will enable you to track your progress, understand what you are doing well, and give you clear feedback to help you manage your studies and your progress.


  • Bradley, A. W.; Ewing, K. D.; Knight, Christopher. (2018) Constitutional and administrative law, Harlow, United Kingdom: Pearson.
  • (2019) The Changing Constitution, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Formative Assignment    0% 
Coursework   Summative Assignment    80% 
Practical   Multiple Choice Quizzes    20% 

Additional coursework information

80% Summative Essay 20% Multiple-Choice Quizzes

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Tom Flynn, email: t.flynn@essex.ac.uk.
Dr Tom Flynn, Dr Tom Cornford
Law General Office, lawugadmin@essex.ac.uk



External examiner

Dr Joseph Tomlinson
University of York
Senior Lecturer in Public Law
Available via Moodle
Of 736 hours, 0 (0%) hours available to students:
736 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information
Essex Law School

Disclaimer: The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its Module Directory is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to programmes, modules, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to modules may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery or assessment of modules and other services, to discontinue modules and other services and to merge or combine modules. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications and module directory.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.