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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Law : Law

Undergraduate Course: Criminal Law A: Harm, Offence and Criminalisation (LAWS10123)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Law CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits40 ECTS Credits20
SummaryThis course is concerned with questions of the appropriate parameters of the criminal law: on what basis can the criminal law intervene? The course will consist of an advanced exploration of theoretical justifications for criminalisation, such as the harm principle, and apply those discussions about the legitimacy of the criminal law to specific contexts. This will include an examination of issues such as possession of drugs, hate crimes, prostitution and trafficking, the extra territorial use of criminal law, terrorism, obscenity offences, domestic violence and sexual offences.
Course description Seminars take the form of an open discussion of the seminar topic. Reading lists will be available from the course website; students are expected to prepare by completing the required reading in advance of seminars. The hand-out includes questions around which the seminar is structured. Participation in class discussion is expected. Experience shows that seminars are at their most helpful (and enjoyable!) when as many people as possible are well prepared and participate actively.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesPlease note that you are very unlikely to get a place on an Honours Law course unless you are on a direct exchange with the School of Law (this includes Erasmus law exchange students).
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2017/18, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  26
Course Start Full Year
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 400 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 38, Summative Assessment Hours 3, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 8, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 351 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 67 %, Coursework 33 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Essay (33%) and exam (67%).
Feedback A formative assessment will be set and circulated at the beginning of semester, with a deadline of mid-November. Feedback will be returned at the last class of the year. This will give students adequate time to reflect on and learn from this feedback, in good time for the submission of the summative assessment in mid-January.
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)3:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Understand the theoretical concepts and principles concerning the justification of criminalisation.
  2. Be familiar with and be able to criticise the primary and secondary literature in this area.
  3. Be able to evaluate critically the debates about criminalisation within the particular legal contexts studied.
  4. Be capable of conducting legal research to an advanced level and of communicating this clearly in oral and written form.
Reading List
There is no prescribed text for the course, though many sessions will refer to Douglas Husak┐s Overcriminalization: The Limits of the Criminal Law (2008), copies of which are available in the library (including an electronic copy). In addition, the following general texts may be of assistance for specific seminars:

A Ashworth, Principles of Criminal Law, 7th edn (2013)
CMV Clarkson, Understanding Criminal Law, 4th edn (2005)
GH Gordon, The Criminal Law of Scotland, 3rd edn by MGA Christie (two vols, 2000 and 2001)
J Herring, Criminal Law: Texts, Cases and Materials, 6th edn (2014)
AP Simester et al, Criminal Law: Theory and Doctrine, 5th edn (2013)
V Tadros, Criminal Responsibility (2005)
WA Wilson, Central Issues in Criminal Theory (2002)

Students may also find it helpful to consult the Scottish Criminal Case Reports for details of recent developments in Scots criminal law, along with relevant journals such as the Criminal Law Review. In addition to UK-based journals, the following may also be of interest (all available electronically):

- Criminal Law and Philosophy
- New Criminal Law Review (previously the Buffalo Criminal Law Review)
- Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Additional Class Delivery Information The first seminar will take place on Tuesday 19th September 2017 at 0900 to 1050. During Semester One the class will meet in David Hume Room 3.11, Dugald Stewart Building; For Semester Two the class will meet in Room 01M.467 Licensed Teaching Room 11 - Doorway 3, Medical School Teviot Place.
KeywordsCriminal Law
Course organiserDr Chloe Kennedy
Tel: (0131 6)51 5537
Course secretaryMs Tracy Noden
Tel: (0131 6)50 2053
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