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Comparative Constitutional Law & Theory - LAW00080M

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  • Department: The York Law School
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Dimitrios Tsarapatsanis
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2022-23

Module summary

The module addresses a number of theoretical and empirical issues issues at the crossroads of legal, constitutional and political theory. Activities include engagement with constitutional texts from a number of jurisdictions (both common law, such as Britain, Canada and the US and civil law ones, such as France and Germany), pertinent case law and a range of theoretical materials on constitutional law. Students are encouraged to articulate oral and written arguments about these materials in a teaching format based on seminars. The main aim of the module is to ultimately help students think critically both legally and theoretically about constitutional law at from both a domestic and a comparative perspective.

Professional requirements


Related modules

There are nor pre-requisites for this module.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Spring Term 2022-23

Module aims

There are three main aims.

First, to acquire knowledge about the functioning of the UK constitution and a range of other non-British constitutions.

Second, to acquire knowledge and apply a range of constitutional theories to both domestic and non-British constitutions.

Third, to think critically about the main concepts of contemporary constitutionalism.

No prior legal knowledge is expected (although you will acquire some as the course progresses.)

Module learning outcomes

Learning Outcomes : By the end of the module, you will be able to:

    • Defend your conceptual understanding of the demands of various constitutional principles.
    • Describe and critically evaluate the institutionalisation of those principles in the UK constitution.
    • Engage with legal materials concerning the UK constitution.
    • Engage with scholarly theoretical materials concerning constitutionalism.
    • Describe and critically evaluate key features of the UK constitutional landscape.
    • Apply comparative techniques in analysing the UK constitution against a number of other constitutions.

Module content

This course examines and evaluates some aspects of the way in which the UK constitution allocates authority to and between state institutions. It also places the UK constitution in a comparative context, drawing on constitutional developments from other common law (Canada, US) and civil law (France, Germany) countries.

We will discuss the demands of constitutional principles (such as democracy, the separation of powers and the rule of law) and ask how, if at all, they are accommodated or honoured by the UK constitution and other constitutions.

We will explore and evaluate some features of the contemporary UK constitution (such as its enthusiasm for unwritten regulation, parliamentary sovereignty and parliamentary privilege) and compare them with the way other constitutions function.

No prior legal knowledge is expected (although you will acquire some as the course progresses.)


Task Length % of module mark
Written Task (question decided in agreement with tutor)
N/A 100

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

Formative assessment shall take the form of presentations by students during week 6.


Task Length % of module mark
Written Task (question decided in agreement with tutor)
N/A 100

Module feedback

Students shall receive feedback on their assessment, which is essay-based, in the normal way, i.e. within the University's Policy on Assessment Feedback Turnaround time and in the form of written comments to their essays.

Indicative reading

Jeremy Waldron, Political Political Theory: An Inaugural Lecture (2013) 21 Journal of Political Philosophy 1 23

Jeremy Waldron, Constitutionalism: A Skeptical View

Dimitrios Kyritsis, Where our Protection Lies, OUP, 2017

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.