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Chapter

Cover Public Law

1. Introduction to Constitutional Fundamentals  

This introduction examines the ideas of constitutions as a text of fundamental importance, setting out how a country should be governed, and as a system of government. Also explored is the question why the United Kingdom has not adopted a codified constitution and the consequences of this.

Chapter

Cover Complete Public Law

4. The Rule of Law  

Titles in the Complete series combine extracts from a wide range of primary materials with clear explanatory text to provide readers with a complete introductory resource. This chapter explains the meaning and significance of the rule of law, briefly tracing the history of the rule of law and considering the main similarities and differences between various theories of the rule of law. It then assesses the impact of recent legal reforms on the operations of the rule of law in the UK. These reforms include the extension of detention without trial; the developing body of anti-terror legislation; and the Constitutional Reform Act 2005, which reinforces the importance of the independence of the judiciary and puts measures in place to attempt to strengthen the separation of the courts from the other arms of the state. Finally, the chapter discusses judicial interpretation of the rule of law through a selection of cases that have examined the legality, irrationality, or procedural impropriety of the actions of the executive or public bodies and whether their actions conform to the Human Rights Act 1998.

Book

Cover Constitutional and Administrative Law
The purpose of this book is to introduce the reader to the fundamental principles and concepts of constitutional and administrative law. It is highly popular with undergraduates for its clear writing style and the ease with which it guides the reader through key principles of public law. This twelfth edition incorporates the significant developments in this ever-changing area of the law. The book also includes a range of useful features to help students get to grips with the subject matter. These include further reading suggestions to support deeper research, a large number of self-test questions to help reinforce knowledge, and chapter summaries and numbered paragraphs to aid navigation and revision. This new edition has been fully updated to cover all the latest reforms in constitutional and administrative law, including those relating to devolution and Brexit.

Chapter

Cover Public Law

2. Constitutions and Constitutional Law  

This chapter examines the specific functions and characteristics of constitutions in general terms—thinking of what the constitutions of Western democratic countries are typically like—rather than with particular reference to the UK, and then considers how the UK’s constitutional arrangements measure up. This is followed by three case studies that illustrate how the different topics considered in this book relate to one another, and which also provide an overview of the type—and importance—of the issues with which public law is concerned.

Chapter

Cover The Changing Constitution

4. Brexit and the UK Constitution  

Paul Craig

This chapter is, for obvious reasons, not a modification of the chapter from the previous edition. It is a completely new chapter, which considers the effect of Brexit on the UK constitution. There is discussion of the constitutional implications of triggering exit from the EU, and whether this could be done by the executive via the prerogative, or whether this was conditional on prior legislative approval through a statute. The discussion thereafter considers the constitutional implications of Brexit in terms of supremacy, rights, executive accountability to the legislature and devolution. The chapter concludes with discussion as to the paradox of sovereignty in the context of Brexit.

Chapter

Cover Constitutional Law, Administrative Law, and Human Rights

4. The Royal Prerogative  

This chapter considers the evolving constitutional status of the royal prerogative in the courts during the twentieth century. The discussions cover the relationship between statute, the prerogative, and the rule of law; the traditional perspective on judicial review of prerogative powers and the rejection of that traditional perspective in the House of Lords’ judgment in Council of Civil Service Unions v Minister for the Civil Service (GCHQ). The chapter continues by analysing the ways in which the new organising principle of ‘justiciability’ which emerged in the GCHQ judgment in the 1980s has since been applied in several leading cases, and suggests that in recent years the courts have adopted an increasingly rigorous approach to the supervision of governmental actions claimed to be taken under prerogative powers.

Chapter

Cover Public Law Concentrate

1. Introduction to constitutional law  

Each Concentrate revision guide is packed with essential information, key cases, revision tips, exam Q&As, and more. Concentrates show you what to expect in a law exam, what examiners are looking for, and how to achieve extra marks. This chapter discusses the definition of constitutional law and the characteristics of the British Constitution. Constitutional law looks at a body of legal rules and political arrangements concerning the government of a country. A constitution may take the form of a document or set of documents which declare that a country and its chosen form of government legitimately exists. The British Constitution is largely unwritten, flexible in nature, and based on absolute parliamentary sovereignty. The UK is also a unitary state. There is a central government, as well as devolved legislative and executive bodies in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and England. It is also a constitutional monarchy. This means that the head of state is a king or queen and that they exercise their powers in and through a parliamentary system of government in which the members of the executive are accountable to a sovereign parliament.

Chapter

Cover Complete Public Law

3. The Nature of the British Constitution  

Titles in the Complete series combine extracts from a wide range of primary materials with clear explanatory text to provide readers with a complete introductory resource. This chapter outlines the characteristics of the UK constitution, which is not a traditional written constitution and, thus, is defined as an ‘unwritten’ constitution. It is not hierarchically superior to all other law in the country, which means that Acts of Parliament cannot be compared with it by judges and be declared as unconstitutional and invalid. Neither can the UK constitution be enforced against the legislature as a result, nor is it entrenched and protected, because it can always be changed by Act of Parliament. However, it can be legally enforced by the mechanism of judicial review against the executive, meaning that the executive may legally act only within its legal power. The chapter also considers the sources that make up the UK constitution and proposed constitutional reforms.

Chapter

Cover Foster on EU Law

5. The Supremacy of EU Law  

This chapter examines the supremacy of EU law from both the point of view of the Union, as understood by the Court of Justice of the European Union, and the point of view of member states. A consensus seems to be emerging from the national and constitutional courts that EU law supremacy is accepted only in so far as it does not infringe the individual rights protection of the national constitutions, in which case the constitutional courts will exercise their reserved rights over national constitutions to uphold them over inconsistent EU law or to review EU law in light of their own constitutions.

Chapter

Cover Environmental Law

4. Public Law  

This chapter explains the important role that public law, particularly administrative law, plays in environmental law. This role comes about because much of environmental law requires vesting decision-making and regulatory power in the hands of public decision-makers at all levels of government. This chapter begins by providing an overview of the different constituent elements of public law: constitutional law, administrative law, the role of the EU and international law, as well the complexities of this area of law. The chapter then moves on to consider the way in which the different types of interests involved in environmental problems and the need for information and expertise provide challenges for public law. The chapter then provides an overview of four major features of public law that are particularly relevant to environmental lawyers: the Aarhus Convention, accountability mechanisms, judicial review, and human rights.

Book

Cover Public Law

Andrew Le Sueur, Maurice Sunkin, and Jo Eric Khushal Murkens

Public Law: Text, Cases, and Materials offers a fresh approach to the study of constitutional and administrative law. It provides clear and insightful commentary on the key institutions, legal principles, and conventions, and blends this with a carefully selected and diverse range of materials and case studies. Part I covers the fundamentals of the constitution. Part II examines the executive function including protecting rights, government and accountability. Part III looks at the legislative function including primary and delegated legislation, European Union treaties, and legislative processes. Part IV considers judicial and dispute resolution functions in terms of the judiciary, tribunals, the ombuds human rights, and constitutional change. Part V examines the European Union, including the institutions of the European Union and joining and leaving the Union.

Book

Cover Public Law

Andrew Le Sueur, Maurice Sunkin, and Jo Eric Khushal Murkens

Public Law: Text, Cases, and Materials offers a fresh approach to the study of constitutional and administrative law. It provides clear and insightful commentary on the key institutions, legal principles, and conventions, and blends this with a carefully selected and diverse range of materials and case studies. Part I covers the fundamentals of the constitution. Part II examines the executive function including protecting rights, government and accountability Part III looks at the legislative function including primary and delegated legislation, European Union treaties, and legislative processes. Part IV considers judicial and dispute resolution functions in terms of the judiciary, tribunals, the ombuds human rights, and constitutional change; Part V examines the European Union, including th institutions of the European Union, joining and leaving the Union and European Law in the UK courts.

Chapter

Cover Public Law

1. Public Law—An Introduction  

This chapter provides an overview of public law, introducing the key institutions, principles, and practices that characterise the constitutional arrangements of the United Kingdom.

Chapter

Cover Public Law

1. Introduction to Constitutional Fundamentals  

This first chapter examines the idea of a constitution as a text of fundamental importance and as a system of government. Constitution as ‘text’ and ‘system’ both set out how a country is and should be governed. The United Kingdom clearly has a constitution but it is not written down, or codified, in a single text. This is very unusual: almost every other country has a written codified constitution. The chapter explores the question why the United Kingdom has not adopted a codified text of its constitution and the consequences of this which include enabling aspects of the constitution to be easily changed while retaining the overall stability of the system.

Chapter

Cover Public Law

3. Themes, Sources, and Principles  

This chapter discusses the UK’s constitutional arrangements, and in particular, four important issues concerning the UK constitution, of which it is necessary to be aware at the outset. First, it sets out the three key themes that emerge from the study of contemporary UK public law, and second, examines the sources of the UK constitution. Third, the chapter addresses a number of principles that occupy a central role in UK public law, before finally considering whether the UK should adopt a written, or codified, constitution.

Chapter

Cover Administrative Law

2. The rule of law and the rule of judges  

At common law, the judges will hold administrative conduct to be unlawful on any of three grounds: error of law (and certain sorts of error of fact), lack of due process, and the improper exercise of discretionary power. This chapter discusses how (and to what extent) the three grounds of judicial review are supported by constitutional principle. Each ground must be controlled by the principle of comity. The principle of comity requires judges to defer to administrative authorities on some issues, to some extent; the chapter explains the limits of deference and the difference—and the connections—between the rule of law and the rule of judges.

Chapter

Cover Constitutional Law, Administrative Law, and Human Rights

13. Substantive Grounds of Judicial Review  

This chapter discusses the substantive grounds of judicial review: illegality, irrationality, and proportionality. Illegality covers the following: excess of power; the relevant/irrelevant considerations doctrine; unlawful delegation of power; unlawful fettering of power; and the estoppel doctrine. Irrationality is also concerned with the substantive content of a government decision, but focuses on the political or moral rather than (in the strict sense) legal character of the decision. Proportionality review can be defined as a constitutional device that requires the courts to accept that the boundaries of moral consensus within which government bodies are confined are discernibly less broad in substantive terms than those that apply in respect of irrationality-based review.

Chapter

Cover Constitutional Law, Administrative Law, and Human Rights

6. The House of Lords  

This chapter examines whether the House of Lords plays an effective anti-majoritarian legislative role. The chapter begins by discussing the changing nature of the relationship between the Commons and the Lords in the post-revolutionary era, focusing in particular on the emergence in the early nineteenth century of a political presumption that the Lords was becoming the inferior partner within Parliament and on the passage of the Parliament Act 1911 in which legal force was given to that political presumption. The chapter also addresses the various proposals put forward in the modern era to reform both the composition and the powers of the House of Lords, and suggests that most reform plans present a paradox. The more we ask a second chamber to perform functions complementary to those of the Commons, the more we demand of its members that they be (as individuals and as a body) ‘expert’, ‘experienced’, and ‘nonpartisan’, and so the more we reveal the crushing dominance of party politics in the lower house, and the incapacity and/or unwillingness of backbench MPs to exert a restraining influence on government activities. This suggests that the key division within the legislative process is now not Lords versus Commons, nor Labour versus Conservative, but party versus national interest. The final part of the chapter explores a more obviously ‘legal’ question; namely the implications of the Parliament Act 1911 for traditional understandings of the doctrine of Parliamentary sovereignty.

Chapter

Cover Complete Public Law

12. Responsible Government and Constitutional Conventions  

Titles in the Complete series combine extracts from a wide range of primary materials with clear explanatory text to provide readers with a complete introductory resource. This chapter discusses the nature and extent of constitutional conventions, which are political rules that are binding upon those to whom they apply. They apply to the relationships between the Crown, Parliament, the judiciary, the civil service, and the executive, and play a key role in limiting the powers granted to institutions of government by unwritten rules or sources. Constitutional conventions also regulate key parts of the relationship between the institutions of government. The doctrine of ministerial responsibility is one of the most important examples of constitutional conventions regulating the behaviour of the executive. There are two main branches of ministerial responsibility. One is individual ministerial responsibility—that is, a minister’s obligation to account to Parliament for his or her words and actions and for those of his or her civil servants. The second branch of ministerial responsibility is collective ministerial responsibility. Amongst other things, collective ministerial responsibility prescribes that decisions reached by the Cabinet or other ministerial committees are binding on all members of the government, regardless of whether or not the individual ministers agree with them.

Chapter

Cover Concentrate Questions and Answers Public Law

1. Introduction  

This chapter advises on how to approach the subject of Public Law and deal with typical exam questions. Public law differs from the other compulsory law subjects in that much is not really law at all, and therefore calls for different skills in the student. To understand public law properly it helps to have some knowledge of current affairs and politics. Public Law is sometimes called constitutional and administrative law, because it looks at both the constitution of the country and the law that regulates the administration. The chapter contains advice on how to answer a problem question using Issue, Relevant Law, Application to the Facts, and Conclusion (IRAC) and how to answer an essay question using Point, Evidence, and Argument (PEA). Preparation for examinations is also covered. When writing an essay, it is best for students to do a rough plan first, listing the main points that they intend to cover. For a problem question, they might also include a list of the main cases. In this subject, it is important to remember that there is no right answer to an exam question, but there is a right way to approach it.