Public Law

Are required to answer TWO questions in total; one from Section A and the compulsory question in Section B. Both questions carry equal marks.
• You can write up to 3000 words, and no more (10% +/- allowance does not apply), for all the answers added together, i.e., for the complete paper. You can divide the words up between the questions as you wish, but as the questions are worth the same mark, it is advisable to balance the 3000 words between the two questions. Please include a word count for each answer.
References in footnotes (if any) that do not include content, i.e., description, analysis or comment, will not be counted towards the word limit.


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Question 1
The UK constitutional setup depends on political and legal mechanisms to ensure government is responsible. Discuss the extent to which these mechanisms are effective in this role.

Question 2
Parliament may have redesigned itself over the years, but its law-making supremacy has remained unchanged. Discuss, including in your answer reference to statutes of so-called ‘constitutional status’.

Question 3
Discuss whether and to what extent the doctrine of separation of powers is in operation in the UK. Include theorists’ views and other academic evidence in support of your arguments.

Question 4A Constitution is a document that seeks to legitimize but also limit state power. Discuss calls for a written codified constitution in the UK and the impact if any on the existing constitutional setup.

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SECTION B – Compulsory Judicial Review problem question

The (fictitious) Housing Reform Act 2018 (‘the Act’) allowed local councils powers to carry out extensive checks on potential tenants for council homes.
S12: Councils may obtain any information they deem appropriate in order to ascertain the character and suitability of potential tenants;
S13: in deciding to offer council homes to potential tenants, those who have been waiting the longest must be given priority.
S20: Appeals against council decisions are to be made to the council’s Appeals Committee. The Committee’s decision is final.

Lucy works in a childcare center earning minimum wage, and Abed is unemployed but in receipt of welfare benefits; together they have a six-year old disabled child. The family had reached the top of the council’s waiting list and on 7th April they received a letter from the council’s housing officer offering them a home and a moving-in date for three weeks’ time. However, two weeks later, Lucy and Abed received a second letter from the housing officer withdrawing their tenancy offer due to concerns about their suitability as council tenants. The letter read:
“Our background enquiries have revealed that Abed received a police caution in 2008 for damage to a car, and Lucy’s current employment would create noise and inconvenience to neighbors. Also, given Lucy’s limited income and that Abed has no income, you would be unable to pay the rent and so it would be unfair to give you priority over others on the waiting list. It has also been revealed that Lucy’s parents were evicted from their private rental in 1995 for non-payment of rent. Lastly, given the council’s electoral promise not to increase council spending, it is not possible to pay for modifications to the flat for disabled access.”
Lucy applied to the Appeals Committee to reconsider the decision. The Committee Chairperson, after discussing it with the housing officer (her husband), immediately wrote to Lucy denying her a hearing and confirming the council’s decision to withdraw the tenancy offer.

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The Tenancy Advisory Service (TAS), a local group providing housing advice to tenants, has heard about Lucy and Abed’s case and wishes to challenge the council’s decision.
Advise Lucy and Abed, and TAS, citing only Public Law Judicial Review issues in your answer. For more information on Public Law check out:

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