LAW37560 Social Inclusion Law

Academic Year 2021/2022

Law has a complex relationship with social inclusion. Within the realms of social welfare law and housing law, significant state architecture exists to, in part, meet the needs of persons. This module describes legislative entitlement to certain social welfare payments and forms of housing assistance/rights in Ireland. Exploring and critiquing social policy preferences of political, administrative and legal actors, and providing entitlements to welfare and housing in legislative, and quasi-legislative, form will be a key focus. Through engaging, in a thematic manner, the module will focus on groups within society, such as: persons without employment, families, Irish Travellers (Mincéirs), asylum seekers and persons with disabilities, in considering the degree that law embraces (or otherwise) social inclusion.

Where domestic legislative entitlements in housing and welfare fall short of providing for needs, this can shine a light on whether Bunreacht na hÉireann (the Irish Constitution) can act as a tool to enhance such rights. Significant international obligations inhere within welfare and housing law due to Ireland freely accepting to be bound by such obligations, at the international (UN) level. How does such a complex matrix of law, legal systems, and differing conceptions of rights, interplay and result in the achievement of social inclusion in Ireland?

The module is assessed in two ways:

(i) Completion of a 1,000 word essay/policy proposal/blog (form may vary) relating to the module. Released in Week 4 and completed by end of Week 7 (40%).

(ii) Completion of a 1,500 word assignment (form of assignment can vary). Released in Week 10 and due by end of Trimester assessment period (60%).

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

At the end of this module, a student, who has attended lectures, engaged with directed readings, and completed all assessments, will be able to:

LO1: Appreciate the interrelationship between policy, politics, administration and law in the arena of social inclusion as relevant to social welfare law and housing law;
LO2: Evaluate legislative entitlement to social welfare and housing in Ireland, broadly, and with respect to identified societal groups.
LO3: Appraise the utility, or otherwise, of Irish constitutional law and international human rights law in protecting persons rights to welfare and/or housing.
LO4: Interpret and apply primary legal materials and research legal problems;
LO5: Formulate opinions and communicate ideas in an appropriate manner to different target audiences.

Indicative Module Content:

Social Inclusion Law reflects on the role of the law and the legal system in protecting persons from poverty in Ireland. With a focus on social inclusion and the Irish legal system, this module examines three two interlinked issues in order to reflect on the role of law in promoting social inclusion: (1) Law & Social Inclusion; (2) Law and Welfare and (3) Law and Housing.

(1) In Law and Social Inclusion, the concept of social inclusion and the role of law is examined. In commencing our exploration, we will engage extensively with Bunreacht na hÉireann (the Irish Constitution) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights ICESCR). The limits, but also the potentials, for Bunreacht to further protect housing and welfare rights, as two types of social and economic right, will be considered. Ireland has signed and ratified significant international legal instruments such as ICESCR. We examine how Irish domestic law engages with these freely accepted legal obligations throughout part (2) and (3) of the course also.

(2) In Law and Welfare, the role of Irish legislation in protection persons against poverty will be described, analysed and critiqued. Key legislative qualification criteria for social welfare payments will be discussed. Detailed insights into the legal basis and judicial interpretation of social welfare law in Ireland will be considered. This may focus on administrative and judicial systems for determining qualification entitlement, as well as on select societal groups in other to provide a deep understanding of how general rules of applicability, may impact differently on societal groups.

(3) In Law and Housing, we will engage in a detailed exploration of housing and social welfare law, local authority housing allocation law and Travellers and housing rights. Issues of housing have dominated political discourses in Ireland over the last decade. The retreating role of the State in housing provision has led to complex legislative rules and criteria that will be considered.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
This module is lecture based, with student engagement and interaction required in lectures throughout the Trimester. This may include pre-lecture reading, so as to enable discursive approaches to social inclusion law.

Approaches to teaching and learning will include: Problem based learning, reflective learning, case-law based learning and critical thinking approaches to law and social inclusion, with a focus on welfare law and housing law. 
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
Assignment: Completion of a 1,500 word assignment. Released in Week 10 and due by end of Trimester assessment period. Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Graded No


Assignment: Released in Week 4 and completed by end of Week 7. Completion of a 1,000 word essay/policy proposal/blog (form may vary) relating to the module. Week 7 n/a Graded No


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

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment
• Self-assessment activities

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Should students require feedback on their learning for this module, then students are encouraged to self-assess their learning, and seek clarification from the lecturer, by arranging to meet the lecturer during office hours or through use of the Brightspace Q&A forums. Group class feedback will be available on the essay/policy proposal/blog (form may vary) element of this module and feedback with provisional results will be released within 20 working days of submission (tbc). Group class feedback on the end of semester assignment will be available once grades are confirmed by the University. To gain individual feedback on module assessments students follow UCD School of Law requirements for requesting an individual feedback meeting once grades are approved. Full information on this process will be provided to students via Brightspace.

Core Primary Legal Materials

Domestic legislation and judicial decisions and relevant international legal instruments and associated materials. You will be directed to precise materials in your topic by topic reading lists. All these materials will be accessible either online or through UCD Library electronic databases.

Core Secondary Materials

You will be referred to relevant secondary legal materials (books, book chapters, journal articles, case-notes, blogs, reports etc.) as appropriate in the week-by-week reading lists. I will only be recommending materials that you can have ready access to either through UCD Library or freely available on-line (such as on academic institutional repositories).

Please note that there is no required textbook for this course. Reading and other materials will be available from UCD Library. This textbook reading list is indicative only and is subject to change:

Mel Cousins and Gerry Whyte, Social Security Law in Ireland (3rd edn, Wolters Kluwer 2021).
Padraic Kenna, Housing Law, Rights and Policy (Clarus Press 2011).
Neville Harris, Law in a Complex State: Complexity in the Law and Structure of Welfare (Hart 2013)
Jessie Hohmann, The Right to Housing: Law, Concepts, Possibilities (Hart 2013).
Monika Bar et al (eds), Marginalised Groups,Inequalities and the Post-War Welfare State (Routledge 2020).
Aoife Nolan, Protecting the Child from Poverty: The Role of Rights in the Council of Europe (COE 2019).
Anthony McCashin, Continuity and change in the welfare state: social security in the Republic of Ireland (Palgrave 2019).
Fiona Dukelow and Mairéad Considine, Irish Social Policy: A Critical Introduction (2nd edn, Policy Press 2017).

Week-by-week reading lists will direct you to relevant journal articles and other materials from leading legal, social policy and social inclusion academics, experts and practitioners.

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) - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 Thurs 16:00 - 17:50