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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Law : Law

Undergraduate Course: Criminal Law B: Doctrine and Theory (LAWS10122)

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 doctrine and theory: how does criminal law operate and how should the criminal law best be structured? The course will consist of an advanced exploration of key components of criminal law, such as criminal responsibility, causation, justifications and excuses, and an in-depth examination of particular sets of rules such as the definition of homicide, sexual offences, and selected defences.
Course description The course has the general learning objectives of developing deep knowledge and critical understanding of the doctrines and principles of criminal law, particularly in relation to criminal responsibility and to criminal offences and defences.

The course is taught through seminars, which 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.
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 2018/19, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  29
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 preparation 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. Demonstrate an advanced understanding of the structural components of criminal law, particularly in relation to Scotland but more generally in respect of the Anglo-American tradition.
  2. Show a familiarity with and understanding of the relevant case law and secondary commentary on each specific issue.
  3. Demonstrate an awareness of the strengths and weaknesses of various ways of structuring the criminal law in these areas, and the ability to evaluate critically the alternative approaches, drawing on comparative insights.
  4. Have a well-developed ability to carry out research and to communicate that clearly.
Reading List
Aside from the readings for each seminar, there is no prescribed text for the course, though the following general texts are well worth consulting:

A Ashworth & J Horder, Principles of Criminal Law, 7th edn (2013)
P Ferguson and C McDiarmid Scots Criminal Law: A critical analysis 2nd ed (2014) (Dundee University Press)
GH Gordon, The Criminal Law of Scotland, 3rd edn by MGA Christie (two vols, 2000 and 2001).
Simester, Spencer, Sullivan and Virgo, Criminal Law: Theory and Doctrine, 5th edn (2013)
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 New Criminal Law Review (previously the Buffalo Criminal Law Review) and the Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law may both be of interest.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsCriminal Law,Case Law,Criminal Responsibility
Course organiserDr Chloe Kennedy
Tel: (0131 6)51 5537
Course secretaryMs Tracy Noden
Tel: (0131 6)50 2053
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