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Criminal Law (Senior Status)


Module description

This module grounds your understanding of the substantive criminal law through the study not just of the relevant legal rules, but also of the social and moral values which inform them. It is organised around a number of themes which are explored in relation to particular sets of offences. These themes are:

  • criminal law's conceptions of personal and sexual integrity and of personal and social interests in property
  • the status of general theories of criminal liability
  • the conception of criminal capacity and its relationship to the avoidance of criminal liability
  • the modern state and conceptions of public and social order.

These general issues are considered in relation to non-fatal offences against the person, sexual offences, property offences, homicide, the legal construction of criminal capacity, and offences against public order and the state.

More generally, and through these themes and issues, the course traces the historical emergence of particular modern forms of criminal liability and engages in a close analysis of the terms in which offences are framed and the patterns which mark their interpretation and enforcement.

Learning objectives

By the end of the module, you should:

  • have a knowledge of the criminal legal framework
  • have developed through seminars your rhetorical skills and ideas
  • be able to critically assess criminal legal doctrines (social, political, moral foundations)
  • have developed your research and analytical skills
  • have a firm understanding of the basic concepts of criminal law and be able to use that understanding to address - in both oral and written forms - the current issues in the practice of criminal law.