Skip to main content

Law of the Trial


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 3
  • Convenor: Dr Bernard Keenan
  • Assessment: a portfolio of tasks (100%)

Module description

In this Foundation Year module, you will study the areas of law and society that are relevant to the criminal trial:

  • the basic elements of a criminal offence
  • police powers of arrest and interrogation
  • the role of the state in prosecuting crimes
  • the tripartite structure of a jury trial (judge, defence and prosecution working to present the decision-makers on the jury with the information to make a fair and reasoned decision)
  • the standards and burdens of proof
  • the basic rules of evidence
  • the sentencing process and the basic politics of punishment and incarceration.

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you should be able to:

  • explain and evaluate the key legal elements in a criminal trial
  • apply basic study skills to find and evaluate sources of relevant information
  • communicate in writing and orally a basic legal argument
  • describe and illustrate examples to show that notions of ‘fairness’ within the criminal justice system are contested and politicised.