Criminal Law for Forensic Scientists - LAWS5620

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2024 to 2025.


This module seeks to provide a sound knowledge and understanding of the concepts and principles underlying the criminal law. This includes a grounding in its historical development and underlying philosophy; to provide a detailed grasp of key concepts and general principles; and to promote a critical discussion about the nature, function and effects of the use of criminal law in given contextual situations.


Contact hours

Total Contact hours: 19
Private study: 131
Total Study Hours: 150


This is a compulsory module for students undertaking a BSc (Hons) in Forensic Science or a BSc (Hons) in Forensic Science with a Year in Industry

Method of assessment

Main Assessment Methods

Essay of not more than 2500 words (50%) *
Take-home problem question of not more than 2,000 words (50%)

* students must achieve a mark of 40% in the essay to pass the module overall.

Reassessment methods

Reassessment instrument: 100% coursework

Indicative reading

The most up to date versions of the following texts:

• Ashworth & Horder; Principles of Criminal Law; Oxford University Press.
• Clarkson & Keating; Criminal Law Text: and Materials; Sweet & Maxwell.
• Elliott & Quinn; Criminal Law; Pearson.
• Herring; Criminal Law: Text Cases and Materials; Oxford University Press.

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. Understand, in detail, the core general concepts and principles underpinning the criminal law, and rules of key specific criminal offences
including murder/manslaughter and non-fatal offences against the person including core sexual offences.
2. Demonstrate a detailed understanding of the wider debate in respect of the use of the criminal law in the social context, the definitions of
harm and the boundaries of criminal law.
3. Engage in practical application of their knowledge, through consideration of criminal law problem questions, and engage in critical debate
of the issues raised.
4. Demonstrate critical knowledge of major theoretical debates in the criminal law field in at least one key area.
5. Critically discuss the major areas of the criminal law covered, making appropriate reference to legal and academic source authorities
6. Demonstrate a critical awareness of the economic, political and/or social implications of legal forms and remedies in the area of criminal

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

1. Present relevant knowledge and understanding in the form of reasoned argument.
2. Identify and critically evaluate legal and policy problems according to their historical, political and legal context.
3. Carry out further research from a variety of sources informing a sustained and detailed argument.
4. Summarize detailed historical and conceptual material, recognizing different positions that are taken in the literature surveyed.


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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