Psychology of Law and Justice - PSYC8060

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2022 to 2023
Autumn Term 7 20 (10) Emma Alleyne checkmark-circle


This course examines the social psychological processes involved in defining an act as criminal and deserving of prosecution and conviction. The course includes evaluations of: why we punish offenders; how they are caught, identified and prosecuted; the role of public opinion in justice and the court process. We also evaluate legal decisions by jurors and judges; the treatment of offenders with special needs and the effects of imprisonment for both prisoners and the prison system.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 33
Private study hours: 167
Total study hours: 200


Compulsory to Forensic Psychology MSc

Method of assessment

Extended Essay 2,500 words.

Reassessment methods: Like for Like.

Indicative reading

11. Reading List (Indicative list, current at time of publication. Reading lists will be published annually)

Davies, G., & Beech, A. (2012). Forensic psychology: Crime, Justice, Law, Interventions. Chichester, K: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Journal articles and additional readings will be assigned on a weekly basis.

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:

8.1. To allow students to gain a basic understanding of the criminal justice process;

8.2. To allow students to gain a detailed understanding of the psychological factors which may be relevant at each stage of the criminal justice process;

8.3. To allow students to fully appreciate the usefulness and applicability of psychological research in the criminal justice system

8.4. To allow students to understand the psychological effects of criminal justice processes on suspects/defendants.

8.5. To allow students to gain an understanding of psycho-legal processes in practice through attendance on visits to Magistrates and Crown Courts.

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

9.1. Evaluate the potential effects of criminal justice processes on stakeholders and suspects/defendants.

9.2. Evaluate the role of forensic psychologists in the criminal justice system.

9.3. Identify appropriate theoretical propositions for analysing the criminal justice processes they view when attending visits to Magistrate and Crown Courts.

9.4. Identify and evaluate the roles of key stakeholders in the criminal justice systems


  1. Credit level 7. Undergraduate or postgraduate masters level module.
  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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