LAW37560 Social Inclusion Law

Academic Year 2020/2021

N.B. This module is delivered fully online.

Law has a complex relationship with social inclusion. Within the realms of social welfare law and housing law, significant state architecture exists to, in part, meet the needs of persons. This module describes legislative entitlement to certain social welfare payments and forms of housing assistance/rights in Ireland. Exploring and critiquing social policy preferences of political, administrative and legal actors, and providing entitlements to welfare and housing in legislative, and quasi-legislative, form will be a key focus. Through engaging, in a thematic manner, the module will focus on groups within society, such as: persons without employment, families, Irish Travellers (Mincéirs), asylum seekers and persons with disabilities, in considering the degree that law embraces (or otherwise) social inclusion. Where domestic legislative entitlements in housing and welfare fall short of providing for needs, this can shine a light on whether Bunreacht na hÉireann (the Irish Constitution) can act as a tool to enhance such rights. Significant international obligations inhere within welfare and housing law due to Ireland freely accepting to be bound by such obligations, at the international (UN) level. How does such a complex matrix of law, legal systems, and differing conceptions of rights, interplay and result in the achievement of social inclusion in Ireland?

This module will be delivered online only. Students will receive a detailed module handbook. There will 14 hours of structured asynchronous (pre-recorded) online lectures and content. There will be 6 hours of synchronous (live) seminars. The online lectures will be supplemented by reading lists, a written lecture outline for each topic, with video lectures embedded into each part of the lecture, and PowerPoints. All materials available to engage with will be released at key points throughout the Trimester. In the live seminars we will tease out issues and focus on key matters of particular interest in this module. Discussion Boards and Q&A Boards in Brightspace will enable further clarification and reflection of issues discussed in the pre-recorded lectures and live seminars, and provide a central space for all aspects of module communication and engagement. Dedicated online office hours for this module will be maintained throughout the duration of the trimester teaching weeks, to enable students discuss one to one any aspect of this module.

The module is assessed by:

(i) One x 45 minute Multiple Choice Questionnaire in Week 6 at a precise date/time (40%). Please note due to the nature of this assessment, extensions/late submissions cannot be accepted in line with para 6.1 of UCD Late Submission on Coursework Policy. An accommodation of 10 minutes will be provided to anybody with an Academic or Exam Accommodation time requirement where registered with UCD Access and Lifelong Learning.

(ii) a 2,000 word legal policy submission (60%) that will be in the form of a report on a specified topic/issue, or indeed on a topic/issue of the student's choosing (with prior agreement from the lecturer).

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

At the end of this module, a student, who has attended lectures, engaged with directed readings, and completed all assessments, will be able to:

LO1: Appreciate the interrelationship between policy, politics, administration and law in the arena of social inclusion as relevant to social welfare law and housing law;
LO2: Evaluate legislative entitlement to social welfare and housing in Ireland, broadly, and with respect to identified societal groups.
LO3: Appraise the utility, or otherwise, of Irish constitutional law and international human rights law in protecting persons rights to welfare and/or housing.
LO4: Interpret and apply primary legal materials and research legal problems;
LO5: Formulate opinions and communicate ideas in an appropriate manner to different target audiences.

Indicative Module Content:

Social Inclusion Law reflects on the role of the law and the legal system in protecting persons from poverty in Ireland. With a focus on social inclusion and the Irish legal system, this module examines three interlinked themes in order to reflect on the role of law in promoting social inclusion: (1) Law and Welfare; (2) Law and Housing and (3) Law & Socio-Economic Rights.

(1) In Law and Welfare, the role of Irish legislation in protection persons against poverty will be described, analysed and critiqued. Key legislative qualification criteria for social welfare payments will be discussed. Detailed insights into the legal basis and judicial interpretation of social welfare law in Ireland will be considered. This may focus on administrative and judicial systems for determining qualification entitlement, as well as on select societal groups in other to provide a deep understanding of how general rules of applicability, may impact differently on societal groups.

(2) In Law and Housing, we will engage in a detailed exploration of housing and social welfare law, local authority housing allocation law and Travellers and housing rights. Issues of housing have dominated political discourses in Ireland over the last decade. The retreating role of the State in housing provision has led to complex legislative rules and criteria that will be considered.

(3) When legislative entitlement does not meet needs of individuals, attention often turns to Bunreacht na hÉireann (the Irish Constitution). The limits, but also the potentials, for Bunreacht to further protect housing and welfare rights, as two types of social and economic right, will be considered. Ireland has signed and ratified significant international legal instruments such as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. We examine how Irish domestic law engages with these freely accepted legal obligations.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Seminar (or Webinar)


Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning


Online Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
This module is online lecture based, with student engagement and interaction required in live seminars throughout the Trimester.

Online lectures for each topic will be released. Each lecture/topic will be divided into small sections, with students directed to relevant reading in lecture reading lists, PowerPoints and lecture outlines (with embedded video) . At relevant points of the course, students will be directed to prescribed reading, which must be engaged with prior to the live online seminars. This will assist in ensuring seminar based student discussion and analysis of key areas of legal controversy. This will be an essential part of this course.

Approaches to teaching and learning will include: Problem based learning, reflective learning, case-law based learning and critical thinking approaches to law and social inclusion, with a focus on welfare law and housing law. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Project: A 2,000 word legal policy submission on a specified area of the module or on a topic of particular interest to a student (with agreement from the lecturer). Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Graded No


Multiple Choice Questionnaire: A MCQ of up to 45 mins, testing students knowledge and application of law and policy covering materials from Weeks 1 to 5 (inclusive) of this module. Extensions/late submission not permitted. Week 6 n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment
• Online automated feedback
• Self-assessment activities

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Should students require feedback on their learning for this module, then students are encouraged to self-assess their learning, and seek clarification from the lecturer, by arranging to meet the lecturer during office hours. Prior to the release of the Multiple Choice Questionnaire (MCQ), students will have an opportunity to complete a 'test run' MCQ, and will be provided with automated online feedback on performance. For the MCQ, students will be examined on their knowledge, understanding and application of law and policy covered in Weeks 1 to 5 of this module. Online automated feedback will be provided, with students seeing their individual result upon completion of the MCQ in Brightspace . The precise date and time for the MCQs will be communicated to students at the start of the Trimester. As an MCQ that delivers feedback upon completion, and is time sensitive, alternative dates/times for completion and/or late submission cannot be permitted in line with para 6.1 of UCD Late Submission of Coursework Policy. Group class feedback will be available on the project element of this module and released as per School of Law instructions once results are confirmed. Full information on this process will be provided to students via Brightspace. Individual feedback on the project will be available once grades are confirmed by the University, and students follow UCD School of Law requirements for requesting viewing of their graded project. Full information on this process will be provided to students via Brightspace.

Core Primary Legal Materials

Domestic legislation and judicial decisions and relevant international legal instruments and associated materials. You will be directed to precise materials in your topic by topic reading lists. All these materials will be accessible either online or through UCD Library electronic databases.

Core Secondary Materials

You will be referred to relevant secondary legal materials (books, book chapters, journal articles, case-notes, blogs, reports etc.) as appropriate in the week-by-week reading lists. I will only be recommending materials that you can have ready access to either through UCD Library or freely available on-line (such as on academic institutional repositories).

Please note that there is no required textbook for this course. Reading and other materials will be available from UCD Library. This textbook reading list is indicative only and is subject to change:

Mel Cousins, Social Security Law in Ireland (2nd edn, Wolters Kluwer 2012).
Padraic Kenna, Housing Law, Rights and Policy (Clarus Press 2011).
Neville Harris, Law in a Complex State: Complexity in the Law and Structure of Welfare (Hart 2013)
Jessie Hohmann, The Right to Housing: Law, Concepts, Possibilities (Hart 2013).
Monika Bar et al (eds), Marginalised Groups,Inequalities and the Post-War Welfare State (Routledge 2020).
Aoife Nolan, Protecting the Child from Poverty: The Role of Rights in the Council of Europe (COE 2019).
Anthony McCashin, Continuity and change in the welfare state: social security in the Republic of Ireland (Palgrave 2019).
Fiona Dukelow and Mairéad Considine, Irish Social Policy: A Critical Introduction (2nd edn, Policy Press 2017).

Week-by-week reading lists will direct you to relevant journal articles and other materials from leading legal, social policy and social inclusion academics, experts and practitioners.

Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.

Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 Thurs 16:00 - 17:50 Online