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Unit information: British Immigration, Nationality, and Citizenship Law in 2016/17

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Unit name British Immigration, Nationality, and Citizenship Law
Unit code LAWD20045
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Professor. Prabhat
Open unit status Not open

LAWD10013 Constitutional Rights.



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


This unit will engage students in a detailed and critical examination of immigration controls and in doing so will interrogate the protections available to immigrants in the context of the relevant legislation and policies in the UK. This approach of combining law and policy from a critical, contemporary socio-legal approach will develop critical analysis skills of students with regard to contemporary research-informed questions, such as the justification of detention and deportation and the legitimacy of immigration controls more generally in a wider political, economic and theoretical context.

Through involvement in the unit, students will be able to understand and analyse the evolution of the national immigration law system and explain the rationales underlying the legal responses to migration.

At the end of this unit students will be familiar with the following topics:

  1. Foundational Principles of British Immigration Law (including relevant EU law)
  2. Entry to the UK and various immigration statuses
  3. Legal difference between citizenship and other kinds of leave to remain and rights of residence
  4. Law relating to loss of citizenship (cancellation for fraud or subsequent conduct)
  5. A range of different approaches to Immigration, British citizenship and nationality in the historical and current contexts of British immigration laws and relevant EU and ECHR laws.

Learning will be structured around lectures and tutorials. Lectures will provide the basic structure around the assigned reading while tutorials will develop the ideas and generate critical thinking on the issues.

Intended learning outcomes

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

  • explain relevant black letter provisions from British immigration laws for nationality, citizenship and other settled status and processes.
  • develop their own critical approaches to an assigned case study by applying the black letter law to the case study.
  • cite the key laws, principles, justifications and standards of protection found in immigration law.
  • demonstrate an understanding of the contemporary socio-legal context of immigration restrictions.
  • critique immigration controls more generally in a wider political, economic and theoretical context.

Teaching details

The unit will be based on 20 one-hour lectures and 8 one-hour tutorials, plus 5 lectures in the Foundations of Legal Research programme.

Students are expected to undertake the assigned reading and be prepared to discuss the material. Tutorials prior to formative and summative assessments will address general questions of how to work on the assignments, whereas tutorials subsequent to the formative and summative assessments will revisit the subject area in light of the assessments.

Assessment Details

Students will be required to submit one formative assignment (max. 1000 words).

There will be two summative pieces of coursework of 2,000 words, one problem question and one essay, each contributing 50% to the final mark.

The problem question, to which students will apply relevant case law and legislation, will test understanding of the black letter provisions of immigration law.

The essay will introduce a case study topic for application of the new learning in the unit and critical analysis of the knowledge acquired.

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

Reading and References

Gina Clayton, Immigration and Asylum Law, OUP: Oxford, 5th edn, 2010.

Margaret Phelan, James Gillespie, Immigration Law Handbook, 9th edn, OUP: Oxford, 2015.

Spencer, Ian RG. British Immigration Policy Since 1939: The Making of Multi-Racial Britain. Routledge, 2002.

Heath, Anthony F., and James R. Tilley. "British national identity and attitudes towards immigration." International Journal on Multicultural Societies 7.2 (2005): 119-132.

Parekh, Bhikhu. "Being British." Government and Opposition 37.3 (2002): 301-315.