LL4AQ      Half Unit
Constitutional Theory

This information is for the 2023/24 session.

Teacher responsible

Professor Martin Loughlin


This course is available on the LLM (extended part-time), LLM (full-time) and University of Pennsylvania Law School LLM Visiting Students. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.


This course has a limited number of places and demand is typically high. This may mean that you’re not able to get a place on this course.

Course content

This course takes its cue from the fact that today, more than ever, the constitution plays a major role in regulating the political and social life of the nation. How has this come about? With what political and social consequences? And what have been the implications for contemporary jurisprudence? This course seeks answers to these questions. It pursues this task by examining the emergence in the modern era of the constitution as a document of higher-order law and considering the ways in which this understanding has acquired a heightened significance in recent decades. Course topics include: the invention of the documentary constitution, the ideology of constitutionalism, constituent power, constitutional rights, constitutional democracy, constitutional adjudication, constitutional recognition, and cosmopolitan constitutionalism.


This course will have 20 hours of teaching in the Autumn Term and two hours in the Spring Term. There will be a Reading Week in Week 6 of Autumn Term.

Formative coursework

All students are expected to produce one 2,000 word formative essay during the course.

Indicative reading

Most of the reading for the course consists of texts available online and delivered through Moodle. Students will find it useful to have regular access to Martin Loughlin, Against Constitutionalism (Harvard University Press, 2022).


Exam (100%, duration: 2 hours, reading time: 15 minutes) in the spring exam period.

Key facts

Department: Law School

Total students 2022/23: 23

Average class size 2022/23: 22

Controlled access 2022/23: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

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