LLM Programme

The taught modules offered on the LLM programme vary from year to year. Please check the full list of taught modules list for details of modules running in specific academic years. We make every effort to ensure that every module will be offered, but modules are subject to change and cancellation. You are therefore advised to check this site regularly for further updates throughout the year preceding entry to the LLM programme.

Credit value: 15 credits (6 ECTS)
Module Convenor: Dr Tom Hickman Other Teachers: N/A


This course examines the growth of national security law as a discipline and the various tensions with the rule of law and with human rights that occur when seeking to adjudicate national security issues. Whilst the course will have a UK focus, it will also have a comparative component, particularly in relation to the US, Canada and Australia. The course is intended to be a challenging course for students that will address complex legal, jurisprudential and practical issues, often at the cutting edge of practice and academic inquiry. It is intended that several seminars will be devoted to scrutinising papers presented by guest speakers who have a particular expertise in or perspective on national security law. Not all of the syllabus will be the subject of detailed consideration in seminars and students will be expected to ensure that they have covered the topics.


The seminars will focus on topical issues drawn from the following:

  1. National Security and the Courts: an examination of the development of the justiciability of national security issues. The shift from non—justiciabilty, to the public interest immunity model, to the Closed Material Procedure model. Contrasting perspectives from US, Canada and Australia.
  2. National Security and Parliament: an examination of the various legislative reforms in the UK which have placed national security on a legal foundation and brought national security issues into the court room.
  3. Immigration powers: an examination of the SIAC system and comparisons with the security certificate system in Canada and consideration of US and Australian law. We will also look at the use of diplomatic assurances.
  4. Detention, Control Orders and TPIMs: the origin and development of the control order system including its spread to Australia.
  5. Asset freezing measures: an overview of the UN sanctions regime, the EU sanctions regime, and the US sanctions regime with particular focus on the means of challenging sanctions.
  6. RIPA powers: The law relating to surveillance and sources.
  7. Accountability of the Intelligence Services: this part of the course will consider the accountability of the Intelligence Services. The Justice and Security Bill and various inquiries and reports in the UK and Canada into the activities of the intelligence services will be considered.
  8. Coercive interrogation and the law on intelligence sharing: an examination on the legal limits to the acquisition and deployment of intelligence.
  9. Theoretical perspectives on national security law: The various theoretical models for considering national security law, in particular those propounded since 9/11. Students will be required to consider the fit and utility of such theories with the actual law and ask how they can be improved.

Within these topics, consideration will be given to the following cross-cutting topics:

  • The tension between secrecy and fairness.
  • The tension between secrecy and accountability.
  • The tension between human rights and acquisition of intelligence.
  • The problems of deploying intelligence as evidence
  • Whether innovations such as closed material procedure can be justified.
  • The charge that increased judicialisation has been counter-productive from a rule of law perspective.

Background Reading (optional):

  • Bradley & Ewing, Constitutional Law, Chapters 25 and 26
  • Justice Report, Secret Evidence, June 2009.

Module reading lists and other module materials will be provided via online module pages, once students have made their module selections upon enrolment in September.

Delivery and enrolment
Lectures/Seminars: 10 x 2-hour seminars
Tutorials: None
Previous module enrolments: Small – less than 15 students
Who may enrol: LLM students, other UCL Masters students
Prerequisities: None
Barred module combinations: None
Core Module for LLM specialism: Human Rights Law, Public Law
Final Assessment: 2-hour unseen written examination
Practice Assessment: Opportunity for feedback on one optional practice essay

This page was last updated on 8 July, 2014


The application process for the 2015-16 academic session is now open.

Please note, for the 2015-16 intake, we are not accepting the TOEFL test. If you have an English condition to meet, you must take one of the alternative tests listed here instead.