Criminal Law - LAWS6010

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Combined Autumn and Spring Terms 6 30 (15) Lucinda Griffiths checkmark-circle


In contrast to LAWS5080 (LW508) Criminal Law (at Level 5), this Level 6 module will consider each of the following discrete, but identical, topics to a much greater depth making use of, and improving, skills developed in earlier years of their degree programme:

• Introduction to the concept of crime, the structure of criminal justice and the general principles of liability
• Harm and the boundaries of criminal law
• Considering cases – how to effectively summarise cases and write a case note
• Murder
• Defences to murder
• General defences
• Manslaughter
• Non-fatal offences against the person
• Sexual offences
• Inchoate offences
• Complicity
• Property-related offences


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 60
Private study hours: 240
Total study hours: 300


All single and joint honours law courses
This module is not available to students who have taken LAWS5080/6130.

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods

There are two alternative assessment patterns for this module and students are able to select which path to follow. The aim of this is to allow students to develop their existing skills and knowledge in the way that best reflects their own learning experience.

Path A – 40% coursework and 60% dissertation
Coursework - Problem Question (2500 words) - 20%
Coursework - Oral presentation, Paired - 20%. PASS COMPULSORY This element must be passed alongside the other elements to pass the module overall.
Dissertation (7000 words) - 60% PASS COMPULSORY

Path B – 40% coursework and 60% examination
Coursework - Problem Question (2500 words) -20%
Coursework - Compulsory oral presentation, Paired (20%). PASS COMPULSORY This element must be passed alongside the other elements to pass the module overall.
Examination (3 hours) - 60% - PASS COMPULSORY

Reassessment methods

Like-for-like: where undertaken, students must achieve a mark of 40% in the oral presentation to pass the module overall on reassessment.

Indicative reading

• Herring J., Criminal Law: Text, Cases and Materials, 8th Edition, (Oxford University Press, 2018)
• Horder J., Ashworth's Principles of Criminal Law, 9th Edition, (Oxford University Press, 2019)
• Ormerod and Laird, Karl, Smith, Hogan and Ormerod's: Criminal Law, 15th Edition, (Oxford University Press, 2018)
• Padfield, Nicola, Criminal Law, 10th Edition, (Oxford University Press, 2016)
• Spencer, J (et al.), Simester and Sullivan's Criminal Law: Theory and Doctrine (Hart, 2016)
• Thomas M., Criminal Law, 1st Edition, (Hall and Stott, 2018)
• Wells and Quick, Lacey, Quick and Wells: Reconstructing Criminal Law 4th Edition (Cambridge University Press, 2010)
• Wilson, W., Criminal Law 6th Edition (Pearson, 2017)

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate a sound grounding in the concepts, principles and rules of criminal offences
2. Demonstrate a thorough and critical understanding of the wider debate in respect of the place of criminal law in the social context, the definitions of harm and the boundaries of criminal law.
3. Demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge of the major theoretical debates in the criminal law field.
4. Critically assess criminal liability in a given factual situation and identify any defences by applying relevant legal principles, case law and statute law to the facts, and critically debate any issues raised.
5. Engage in an intricate, reasoned and informed discussion of the major areas of criminal law making appropriate reference to legal and academic source authorities.
6. Critically evaluate the operation of the criminal law in the social context.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate enhanced skills in summarising cases and developing argument.
2. Demonstrate comprehensive research and presentation skills through class presentations and through assessment.
3. Undertake detailed independent legal research and identify and retrieve up to date information, using a range of paper and electronic sources.
4. Present a cogent legal argument both in class and through assessment.
5. Recognise potential alternative conclusions for particular situations, and provide supporting reasons for them.
6. Use relevant legal terminology with care and accuracy.
7. Present and evaluate information in a numerical or statistical form.


  1. Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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