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Unit information: Law and State in 2019/20

Please note: Due to alternative arrangements for teaching and assessment in place from 18 March 2020 to mitigate against the restrictions in place due to COVID-19, information shown for 2019/20 may not always be accurate.

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


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 may include: states and constitutions; international law, EU law, and the constitution; parliamentary sovereignty; the constitutional role of the judiciary; the composition and procedures of Parliament; the executive; the regulatory state; devolution.

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.
  • Describe the role of the constitution in regulating relationships between citizens and the state, between states themselves, and between states and supranational institutions.
  • Analyse the multi-layered nature of the United Kingdom’s constitution.
  • Discuss complex judicial decisions with multiple opinions.
  • Demonstrate independent research skills.

Analyse, synthesise and offer critical evaluation of information, as well as expound systematically in writing the material in its political and historical context.

Teaching details

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

1 formative assessment: 1 x 1,000 word coursework.

Formative assessments do not count towards final mark and can be optional.

Assessment Details

1 x formative assessment (submitted for marking), plus additional informal formative feedback opportunities as indicated by the unit coordinator.

Formative assessments do not count towards final mark and can be optional.

1 x 2,000 word coursework.

Summative assessments do count towards final mark.

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

Reading and References

The recommended texts for the course are:

- Public Law, Oxford University Press (custom publishing), 2017

[Please note that this is a bespoke text specially created by the publishers for this unit and for Constitutional Rights].

- Jeffrey Jowell, Dawn Oliver, and Colm O'Cinneide (eds.), The Changing Constitution, 8th ed., Oxford University Press, 2015.

For basic background, students who would like a brief introduction to the political issues underpinning this subject may find the following of use:

T. Wright, British Politics: A Very Short Introduction, 2nd ed., Oxford University Press, 2013.