CRIMINAL LAW I - 2017/8

Module code: LAW2074

Module provider

School of Law

Module Leader

NEWHOUSE M Dr (Schl of Law)

Number of Credits

15

ECT Credits

7.5

Framework

FHEQ Level 5

JACs code

M211

Module cap (Maximum number of students)

N/A

Module Availability

Semester 1

Overall student workload

Independent Study Hours: 120

Lecture Hours: 22

Tutorial Hours: 8

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Examination 2 HOUR EXAM 100

Alternative Assessment

N/A

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

None

Module overview

This module is intended to outline and critically examine English Criminal Law as an academic discipline, and to identify and evaluate the general principles of the common law, and of statutory interpretation, which will prepare them for the study of particular criminal offences.

Integration with core legal skills and critical method training

The module also shares ten one hours ‘Justice, legal systems and method’ lectures with the other Level 5 Semester One law modules for JD Pathway students. These cover an introduction to the following areas:

Legal method: Introduction to the study of law; Use of sources: Authority and precedent; Interpretation; Research skills; Legal writing; Academic sources and critical analysis.

History of the English legal system; Comparative overview of legal systems; Introduction to common law and common law method; Introduction to critical legal method and theories of justice

These teaching sessions will be fully integrated into the study tasks and activities in the substantive study of this module during this Semester, and inform the learning outcome below. These sessions are delivered in collaboration with the Library and learning resources team to demonstrate the practical elements of legal skills and research.

 

 

Module aims

To analyse the general principles of English criminal law

To appreciate the conduct which the criminal law forbids, distinguishing those crimes where causation must be proved and those crimes where the defendant's responsibility for particular circumstances will constitute punishable conduct

To assess the mental element in crime, including intention, recklessness, gross negligence (in manslaughter) and a brief outline of strict liability

To critically consider general defences and failure of proof defences.

To evaluate the rules governing complicity

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
Explain and analyse understanding of the general principles, concepts and history of criminal law and criminal responsibility KC
Analyse and demonstrate a critical understanding of the content of several important categories of criminal offence KCT
Use and critically engage with the sources of criminal law, including common law, statute, EU and international law KCPT
Explain, identify and critically engage with relevant defences KC
Critically analyse the competing policy concerns and values which inform criminal law and its development KCPT
Analyse major tendencies within scholarly discussions of criminal law and policy proposals KCPT
Critically apply knowledge of the primary and secondary legal authorities to solve novel problems and answer essay questions about the competing goals and content of criminal law CPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Module content

Indicative content includes:


Normative principles of criminal law and justice



Sources of English criminal law (both common law and statutory)
Determining the procedural history of a criminal case
Understanding criminal law case reports
The distinction between general principles and specific criminal offences
The difference between questions of fact and questions of law
Stare decisis in the criminal law
Principles of statutory interpretation in the context of criminal law
Criminal conduct, acts and omissions
Legal and factual causation
Involuntary conduct (automatism), and intoxication
The mental element in crime, including doctrines of direct and oblique intention and recklessness.
The coincidence of the ‘mens rea’ and the ‘actus reus’ of a crime
Failure of proof defences
General defences: insanity, duress, necessity, and public and private defence
Principal offenders and accessorial liability
Inchoate offences

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy follows an enquiry-based learning approach.

Lectures will introduce the topics, give a general overview of the principles of each topic, give guidance on how to analyse the law and research those topics and in some instances give specific examples of the law and its effect. 

The lectures will not give a full description of, or appreciation of, the law. In order to learn in greater depth and breadth, such as to satisfy the learning outcomes, students will answer questions of some complexity in the 2-hour seminars, either resolving legal problems or performing a critical analysis of the law. Typically the seminar groups will each contain 16 students, who will work in small groups to research the law and present answers, demonstrating self-direction and originality, of both approach and resolution. Students should be prepared to field questions during their presentations, either from their tutor or from fellow students, and to follow up the presentations with group discussion and feedback. Presentations may be required in any form, including advocacy for a specific party in a problem question or argument for or against a specific proposition.

For efficiency and ease of understanding, teaching of critical legal skills may be blended with the substantive subject-specific lectures.        

The learning and teaching methods would typically comprise:


A 1 hour session introducing the enquiry-based learning method used in this module and how it should be approached in the context of criminal law
11 x 1 hour substantive subject-specific lectures
1 hour feedback session on the formative assessment
2 x 1 hour revision lectures
2 hours of lectures on critical legal skills (see “Module Overview” section above for further detail)
0.5 hour training in legal research skills, delivered by the Library and learning resources team (see “Module Overview” section above for further detail)
8 x 2 hour seminars, as described above


 

Note: as this module is assessed by examination, the formative assessment will also be by examination, which may be held in place of one of the substantive subject-specific lectures.  

Assessment Strategy

The assessment addresses all learning outcomes listed above.

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate a good level of:


Identification of Issues


students should demonstrate the ability to identify the legal issues raised by the questions


Clear statements of relevant legal standards


students should demonstrate the ability to clearly and accurately communicate relevant legal standards


Synthesis and application


Students should be able to synthesise and apply relevant legal doctrines to specific facts, noting any gaps and inconsistencies in the law, and reach plausible conclusions about the liability of various parties.


Statutory Interpretation


Students should demonstrate a working knowledge of judicial canons and practices regarding the interpretation of criminal statutes.


Comprehension of Case Reports


Students should demonstrate the ability to read and understand criminal law case reports, analyse judicial reasoning, and trace the evolution of the common law over time


Critical Evaluation


Students should demonstrate the ability to critically evaluate legal doctrines, procedural rules, and canons of interpretation in light of normative principles.

The summative assessment for this module consists of:


A 2 hour, comprehensive exam, which counts for 100% of the module mark


Formative assessment and feedback


A 45 minute exam followed by in-class and written feedback


 

Reading list

Reading list for CRIMINAL LAW I : http://aspire.surrey.ac.uk/modules/law2074

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Law (JD Pathway) LLB (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2017/8 academic year.