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Last modified: 25 May 2018 11:16

Course Overview

This course considers the ways in which the law provides for ‘free and fair’ elections and referendums. It introduces students to the ways in which Parliament and the courts regulate voting, candidacy, campaigning, and political parties; and considers how the laws governing elections are made and reformed. The focus is on critical analysis of the adequacy of the existing law, considering ways that reform might strengthen the processes of our electoral democracy.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 4
Session First Sub Session Credit Points 30 credits (15 ECTS credits)
Campus Old Aberdeen Sustained Study No
  • Dr Heather Green

Qualification Prerequisites

  • One of Programme Level 3 or Programme Level 4 or Programme Level 5

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • Any Undergraduate Programme (Studied)
  • LS1521 Public Law and Human Rights (Passed)
  • Legal Studies (Ma Honours) (LX) (Studied)

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?


Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

    • Course Aims: The course aims to provide students with an understanding of the law governing elections and referendums in the UK, and to encourage critical appraisal of the content of the rules and principles shaping the electoral process. The focus of the course is on the extent to which the law, as laid down by Parliament and the courts, can guarantee ‘free and fair elections’.

The course is available also to MA Legal Studies students as LX4072, a 30 credit option. Students taking this option are required to submit coursework or 3,500 words.

Main Learning Outcomes: Knowledge and Understanding:

  • Know how the law of the United Kingdom regulates the core institutions of electoral democracy;
  • Know the content of the main legislative provisions of election law;
  • Know about key judicial decisions concerning voting and elections;
  • Know about theories of democracy pertinent to election law content and design;
  • Understand the relations between legislative, executive and judicial roles in the regulation of electoral processes;
  • Understand the place and roles of election law within the wider constitutional law context;
  • Understand the context of democratic values and principles within which election law operates. Subject Specific Skills and Concepts Students will develop skills concerning:
  • Handling of primary legal materials, especially complex statutory rules
  • Locating current law from electronic sources
  • Understanding structure and content of legal comment and argument in relevant scholarship
  • Understanding the role of legal scholarship in debates about law reform
  • Offering reasoned oral and written arguments about the law and the principles informing it
  • Critical analysis and reflection on the content of current law
  • Understanding of the wider political context in which the law operates Key Skills (Transferable) The course seeks to contribute to the development of the following skills:
  • Oral and written communication;
  • Working independently;
  • To organise and manage time to achieve tasks;
  • Critical analysis;
  • Logical argument;
  • An ability to synthesise and organise complex materials and arguments;
  • Conduct formal and informal oral presentations;
  • Make appropriate use of technology in research and writing;
  • Reflect on own learning and to seek and make use of feedback.
  • Content: Topics covered in seminars are:
    • Voting rights
    • Referendums
    • Courts and elections
    • Election Crimes: Fraud & Other Offences
    • Money in Elections
    • Candidates and Representatives


Further Information & Notes

The course is available also to MA Legal Studies students as LX4072, a 30 credit option. The essay for LX4072 is 3,500 words (on the same topic as for LS4072)

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown


More Information about Week Numbers

Details, including assessments, may be subject to change until 31 August 2023 for 1st half-session courses and 22 December 2023 for 2nd half-session courses.

Summative Assessments

1st Attempt: 1 three-hour written examination (75%); continuous assessment by essay of 3,500 words (25%). Resit: None.

Formative Assessment

An additional element of assessment in the form of 1,500 words essay for MA Legal Studies students.


Feedback will be provided on the feedback form within three weeks from the date of submission.

Course Learning Outcomes


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