Immigration Law LAW4026

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Law
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

Increasing global migration is an undisputed reality. The issues and legal framework surrounding it, however, are far from undisputed. Migration, whether voluntary or involuntary, is a complex and multi-faceted phenomenon which has direct and local impacts. This course will critically examine the ever-developing UK legal framework in relation to immigration, and the related laws on nationality and citizenship. This entails exposure to wider contexts and perspectives, such as historical accounts, theories of migration and contemporary policy positions. This subject is complex; it demands an understanding of a variety of legal sources (at national, European and international level) and legal disciplines (eg. administrative law, human rights law, international law). Case-studies, class discussions and exposure to the 'law in action' (through guest seminars from legal practitioners and, where possible, immigration tribunal observations) will encourage a thorough, practical understanding and critical awareness of the legal and policy frameworks at play.

The course will be based around 4 themed blocks:

1. Framing the study of immigration law: Key concepts, contexts and challenges; Understanding nationality and citizenship law in the UK.

2. Analysing the UK legal framework for different categories of migrant

3. Enforcement and remedies in immigration and asylum law in the UK

4.Consolidation of learning


10 x 2 hour seminars (on-campus)

Requirements of Entry

This course is only available to LLB students.

Excluded Courses





  The summative assessment will comprise

■ two written assignments:

1. Essay-style question on the topic of nationality law (30% - 2000 words)

2. Written report. Students will be required to write a critical account of two distinct topics (from a choice of three). For each topic this will typically entail a summary account, critique, and identification of possible areas for further legal challenge or reform. (70% - 3000 words in total - each topic has equal weighting.)

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. Where, exceptionally, reassessment on Honours courses is required to satisfy professional/accreditation requirements, only the overall course grade achieved at the first attempt will contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims


Knowledge based

■ To examine and critique the law surrounding nationality and immigration law in the UK with reference to a range of key perspectives/literatures (eg. historical, theories of migration, human rights, contemporary policy);

■ To understand the extent and application of multiple and multi-level (international and national) legal frameworks that regulate nationality law and (voluntary and involuntary) migration in the UK;

■ To gain a detailed understanding of the law and practice applicable to at least one category of migrant in the UK (eg. children, family, business, asylum seekers);

■ To critically examine administrative detention as a tool of immigration control in the UK;

■ To critically examine the framework of remedies available to individuals who wish to challenge an immigration or asylum decision in Scotland/UK;

■ To provide significant legal practice perspectives and insights via invited guest practitioners and where possible, a visit to the tribunal.

Skills based

■ To foster and develop transferable skills, including effective oral and written communication;

■ To encourage independent legal research and responsibility for ones' own learning;

■ To develop critical-thinking skills;

■ To encourage awareness of ethical standards and professionalism in immigration law practice.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course


By the end of this course students will be able to:

Knowledge based

■ Explain and critique nationality law in the UK and describe how it links to/differs from immigration law;

■ Explain how the relevant legal frameworks at national, European and International level interface and apply to the regulation of migration in the UK;  

■ Discuss critically the law and its practical application to at least one category of migrant in the UK.

■ Describe and evaluate the regime of administrative detention, including how the lawfulness of immigration detention decisions in the UK can be challenged.

■ Describe and evaluate the legal remedies framework, including a critique of the overall framework and individual remedies.

Skills based

■ Identify relevant legal sources applicable to nationality and immigration law in the UK, including to specific categories of migrant;

■ Write critically about the nature and content of immigration and nationality law in the UK;

■ Construct coherent and analytical oral and written arguments about the substantive and procedural legal framework in relation to immigration law as it relates to the UK;

■ Demonstrate behaviours (in class, in assessed work and on any organised study visits) that reflect an appreciation of appropriate ethical practice standards.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

  Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.