LW7106 - Terrorism, the Rule of Law and Democracy

What will I learn on this module?

You will be provided with a detailed and in-depth understanding of counterterrorism law in the United Kingdom and the United States. You will consider how terrorism is understood, represented, and legally defined; the range of laws and measures adopted in order to combat terrorism; and the challenges of counterterrorism for the rule of law and democracy. In this manner, the module provides a deep and broad understanding of a key 21st century legal and political development, with major implications for law, politics, and everyday life. The issues explored include:
-the history and the logic of terrorism
-the relations between terrorism, politics and the state
-the legal definition of terrorism and its representations in the media
-the criminal law framework for combating terrorism
-administrative and extra-legal measures against terrorism
-Surveillance, the Intelligence agencies, and the legal framework guiding their operations
-the UK PREVENT strategy for combating extremism
-making sense of counterterrorism law and its implications for the rule of law
-the implications of counterterrorism for democracy.
You will be encouraged to contribute your own opinions and experiences on these issues, and use them as a springboard for a deeper, more systematic and critical engagement with counterterrorism. This will mainly occur through group discussion, debate, and presentations in the module’s workshops. No prior knowledge of counterterrorism law is required. This module complements and advances, but does not require, previous engagement with Criminal Law, Human Rights, Constitutional Law, and Jurisprudence.

How will I learn on this module?

The module is delivered by a combination of 12 lectures and 6 two-hour workshops. The lectures will introduce specific subjects, outline the law and other relevant facts, and underline key issues that emerge from them. The workshops will delve deeper into the material outlined in the corresponding lectures. They are student-led: they invite you to question and reflect the lecture themes, contribute your own opinions and experiences, discuss, and debate. Moreover, you will take turns in making brief group presentations on your chosen topic. These will be your formative assessment, receiving feedback and feed-forward. The summative assessment is a 3000 word essay, chosen from a list of 8 to 10 topics, and submitted after the end of the module.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

The module is delivered by a teaching team with expertise in the area. Lectures will allow a brief time for clarification questions. They will be recorded and made available to you in the eLearning Portal soon after their delivery. Substantive questions will be invited and discussed in the workshops. Tutors will guide you and enhance your understanding through discussion and debate during the workshops; and provide meaningful formative feedback to students’ presentations. The last workshop will be dedicated to a review of the module. Lecture and workshop materials, along with core and supplementary readings will be posted on eLP, with links to the University Library.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:

• You will develop in-depth and systematic knowledge of the full range of counterterrorism law and measures in the UK and the US; their effects on the rule of law and democratic politics and how these apply in this subject area

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:

• You will be able to analyse and apply your in depth knowledge and understanding to complex legal and policy issues relating to counterterrorism, the rule of law and democracy.

• You will be able to critically evaluate source material, and reflect on the application of your knowledge and that of others within practical contexts.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):

• You will take responsibility for your own independent learning in the field of counterterrorism, the rule of law and democracy, working independently to further enhance existing skills and develop new skills to a high level

How will I be assessed?

Formative Assessment
You will be offered regular feedback throughout the module in workshops. Additionally, you will be given feedback on their group presentations, also in the context of the module’s workshops.

Summative Assessment
You will be assessed by means of a 3000 word research driven, critical essay, chosen from a list of (8-10) topics.





Module abstract

This module examines one of the most important legal developments of our times: the rise of counterterrorism law. It will provide you with an in-depth understanding of the legal measures that the UK and the USA employ to combat terrorism. It also discusses the legal and political dilemmas that counterterrorism law poses, and the ways in which it effects the Rule of Law and Democracy. By doing so, it encourages you to engage, openly and critically, with a major legal development that deeply effects the way we live. Learning involves 12 weekly lectures and 6 two-hour workshops delivered fortnightly. You will be guided and supported by a team of academics working on the cutting edge of counterterrorism research. Assessment will comprise a 3000 words essay. The module will improve your skills in essay-writing, research, presentation, team-work and critical thinking. It will enhance your skill-set necessary for legal practice, and for careers in public advocacy and the civil service.

Course info

Credits 20

Level of Study Postgraduate

Mode of Study 1 year Full Time

Department Northumbria Law School

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


Useful Links

Find out about our distinctive approach at 

Admissions Terms and Conditions

Fees and Funding

Admissions Policy

Admissions Complaints Policy