LAW30550 Legal History: The History of Public Law

Academic Year 2022/2023

This module is concerned with two broad legal historical themes, both with a constitutional character.

The organising theme of the first part of the module is the legal history of personal constitutional rights. The module includes the following topics: (i) The history of women's property and political rights in the period 1850 to 1920: (ii) The history of the liberty of political free expression is covered: (iii). The history of the legal responses to, and abolition of, slavery (1700 to 1833) is covered. (iv) The history (1690-1920) of the law relating to religious liberty in Ireland, including the Penal Laws, is treated.

The theme of the second half of the module is Irish constitutional history. This analysis will span the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries. It will include consideration of legal subjects connected to the "Glorious Revolution" of 1688, attempts at Irish "home rule", the movement towards Irish independence, the partitioning of the island and the establishment and evolution of the Irish Free State under its 1922 Constitution. This will provide a context for the emergence of the current Irish Constitution of 1937.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

At the conclusion of this module, students should be able to: demonstrate a detailed knowledge of:
major events in the development of fundamental rights at common law; the legal history of the protection of personal liberty; ,the legal history of freedom of expression; the history of the Penal Laws and the right of religious liberty in Ireland; of the evolution of the principal institutions of the criminal trial; and of the rights of defendants in the criminal process.

Students should, through undertaking a research-based essay in legal history, have acquired an appreciation of the sources and techniques of legal historical research.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
The approach taken in this module blends social and political history with legal doctrine. It explains how legal doctrine influenced the development of the recognition of civil rights and the development of the basic rules of the criminal process. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Essay: A research based essay in a prescribed legal historical topic (1,800 words, not including footnotes). Week 12 n/a Graded No


Examination: A two hour examination designed to test understanding of, and reading associated with, legal historical topics covered in the module. 2 hour End of Trimester Exam No Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Summer No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Group/class feedback, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Feedback for the assignment will be delivered in the form of individualised feedback (on request by email). Feedback for the examination will be in the form of commentary on each of the questions. This commentary will identify material that the examiners expected to be included in the answers, as well as common errors.

Name Role
Assoc Professor Thomas Mohr Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33 Thurs 14:00 - 15:50