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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Law : Law

Postgraduate Course: Philosophical Foundations of Criminal Law (LAWS11265)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Law CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course introduces and examines the philosophical approaches that have been used to explain, justify and criticise criminal law doctrine. It focuses in particular on criminal law┐s ┐general part┐: the fundamental rules governing criminal responsibility and liability. Questions considered include: what is criminal responsibility? What kinds of things can one legitimately be held responsible for? When should one be criminally responsible for causing harm, and what difference should the occurrence of harm make to criminal conviction and punishment? What should be the role of concepts like intention, motive, awareness and negligence in determining criminality? When might criminal actions be justifiable or excusable? And when should one be able to deny responsibility for admittedly criminal conduct on grounds such as mental illness?
Course description This course is a core (but optional) course for the LLM in Criminal Law and Criminal Justice.

It is optional for students on other masters programmes within the School of Law.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements It is presupposed that students are familiar with the criminal law doctrine of at least one jurisdiction
Additional Costs None
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Understand and critically analyse core concepts of criminal law, including the nature and scope of criminal responsibility, actus reus and mens rea elements, and criminal defences.
  2. Explain and evaluate a range of theories addressing these concepts including developments at the forefront of the field
  3. Apply these theories to novel, complex and/or contentious cases; and
  4. Use them to evaluate critically proposals for develoment of the criminal law
Reading List
To be distributed in advance of seminars
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills This course will contribute to students┐ development of the following skills:

┐ Identifying, conceptualising and defining new and abstract problems and issues
┐ Developing original and creative responses to problems and issues
┐ Critically reviewing, consolidating and extending knowledge, skills, practices and thinking
┐ Using a range of communication skills and methods
┐ Exercising substantial autonomy and initiative in own work
┐ Taking responsibility for own work
KeywordsCriminalisation,criminal law,philosophy of law,responsibility,liability,culpability,actus reus
Course organiserDr Andrew Cornford
Tel: (0131 6)51 4085
Course secretaryMs Karin Bolton
Tel: (0131 6)50 2022
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