‘To Disruption…and Beyond’: Strategies for Teaching Public Law During Times of Unprecedented Constitutional Change


The challenges and disruption surrounding the delivery of Public Law modules were omnipresent prior to the pandemic crisis, and have only exasperated ever since. In 2019, proposals for significant constitutional change post-Brexit, as well as reforming the House of Lords; alongside issues surrounding devolution and the future for the UK Union; and the future for the Human Rights Act 1998, were all making headline news and warranted reflecting in our delivery.

Just before the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020, constitutional dilemmas arose surrounding Parliamentary Sovereignty, Separation of Powers, and the Rule of Law, alongside the Prerogative powers of the Crown; as well as the future for the UK-EU relationship post-Brexit.

The outbreak of the pandemic (which is of constitutional significance in and of its own right) has coincided with the official end of the Brexit transition period, as well as other constitutional dilemmas surrounding the powers of Government(s), the Ministerial Codes; an independent review of Judicial Review and the role of judges; as well as concerns over equality before the law under the Rule of Law (amongst others).

The cumulative effect of all of these constitutional changes and proposals for reform have left Public Law scholars in the challenging position of deciding how best to reflect such far-reaching disruptions in their modules and teaching.

This presentation maps different strategies that the author has experimented with over the course of the last two academic years (both pre- and during- lockdowns) in order to reflect the most recent constitutional developments within ‘classroom’ discussions.

To keep pace with such changes, we adopted
-“Learn Before the Lecture Podcasts”
-“Public Law in Action” pre-class discussions, where we applied the principles we had learnt the week before to ministers’ Twitter Accounts and Headline news (in order to move beyond what I term “Pub Talk Public Law”)
-Toolkits- to help students digest blackletter law and apply such to contemporary develops
-Online Questionnaires and Interactive multi-media games
-Online discussion forums (with anonymous posting options)
-Twitter Hashtags and Youtube Channel (in order to help students identify authoritative/credible sources for information via their preferred channels or outlets)

Such reflects upon the benefits of utilising toolkit approaches for teaching the most challenging fundamental constitutional principles. Whilst also reflecting upon both facilitators’ and learners’ experiences of having interactive workshops for applying such knowledge to headline news via ‘Public Law in Action’ sessions and in-class quizzes.
15 Apr 2021

External organisation (Private non-profit)

NameAssociation of Law Teachers
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom

External organisation (Private non-profit)

NameAssociation of Law Teachers
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • Public Law, Legal Education, Constitutional Law