Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024 (archived)


Department: Law


Type Tied Level 1 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2023/24 Module Cap Location Durham
Tied to M101
Tied to M103


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To provide a general understanding of the basic institutions, concepts and principles relating to the constitution of the United Kingdom.


  • (1) The nature of the UK Constitution (including introduction to constitutionalism; sources, especially constitutional conventions; structures of government including devolution; comparisons; development and reform; (2) The Rule of Law, including case study on prerogative powers; (3) Parliamentary sovereignty including the impact of EU law; (4) Separation of powers; and judicial independence.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Students should be able to demonstrate a thorough knowledge of constitutional law and principles of the United Kingdom.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Students should be able to ability to apply the constitutional law of the United Kingdom and analyse and understand its development.
Key Skills:
  • Students should be able to demonstrate basic analytical and writing skills, including the ability to work independently and take responsibility for their own learning.

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

  • Lectures are used primarily to impart knowledge - and also to suggest approaches to evaluation and critical analysis;
  • Tutorials will be used to develop and enhance students capacity for legal-problem solving in a particular factual situation, evaluative critical analysis and their appreciation of laws' linkage with broader fields of enquiry;
  • The assignment (formative) is used both to develop problem-solving skills, the ability to engage in sustained evaluation of proposed schemes of reforms, and the ability to evaluate the law in a critical and contextual way
  • The summative essay is a skills-based exercise, testing students' ability to engage in statutory interpretation, as well as applying the legal principles governing parliamentary sovereignty (topic 3 under Content, above).
  • The examination questions will provide the means for students to demonstrate the acquisition of subject knowledge (topics 1, 2 and 4) and test their ability to make coherent, critical arguments evaluating different aspects of the UK constitution in a contextual manner.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 20 Weekly 1 hour 20
Tutorials 5 Normally two in each of Michaelmas and Epiphany, and one in Easter 1 hour 5
Preparation and Reading 175
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Examination Component Weighting: 70%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
written examination 2 hours 100% yes
Component: Summative Essay Component Weighting: 30%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Summative interpretation exercise 1,500 words 100% yes

Formative Assessment:

One essay of 1500 words.

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