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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Law : Law

Undergraduate Course: Crime and Punishment in Enlightenment Scotland (LAWS10204)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Law CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course examines how conceptions, definitions and practices of crime and punishment changed within Enlightenment Scotland, beginning in the late seventeenth century and concluding in the early nineteenth century. The course aims to provide students with a sense of how the criminal law in Scotland developed during a period of crucial intellectual, social and political change and to give a sense of how these changes fitted within the broader framework of what we might term 'the Enlightenment'.
Course description The course will chart key developments across the period beginning in the late seventeenth century and concluding in the early nineteenth century through examination of, and critical engagement with, primary sources and secondary literature. in particular, it will trace changes in the definition and justification of particular crimes, and the criminal law as a whole, and consider how the contours of selected defences and the practices of punishment shifted. By situating these developments in their intellectual and social context, the course will encourage students to consider what might account for these changes. Although the main focus of the course is Scots law, comparisons with other jurisdictions (e.g. England) will be made where appropriate, and during the course of their study students will be introduced to legal theories and ideas that were not exclusive to Scotland.

The course will include consideration of the following topics:
- Fundamental issues, including sources, methodology and legal history as a discipline
- The Enlightenment, law and legal thought
- The scope, aims and sources of criminal law
- Range of offences, such as: homicide and offences against the person; theft and property offences; 'sexual offences'; blasphemy, treason and sedition; witchcraft
- Criminal prosecution, jurisdiction and trials
- Criminal responsibility (and non-responsibility)
- Punishment
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesThis course is only open to visiting students coming through a direct exchange with the School of Law (including Erasmus students on a Law-specific Exchange). Exchange students outside of Law and independent study abroad students are not eligible to enrol in this course, with no exceptions.

**Please note that 3rd year Law courses are high-demand, meaning that they have a very high number of students wishing to enrol in a very limited number of spaces.**
Priority will be given to students studying on exchange within the Law department, and it is highly unlikely that there will be additional spaces for general exchange students & independent study abroad students to enrol; we will look into this on a case-by-case basis in September/January. Visiting students are advised to bear in mind that enrolment in specific courses can never be guaranteed, and you may need to be flexible in finding alternatives in case your preferred courses have no available space.

These enrolments are managed strictly by the Visiting Student Office, in line with the quotas allocated by the department, and all enquiries to enrol in these courses must be made through the CAHSS Visiting Student Office. It is not appropriate for students to contact the department directly to request additional spaces.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  30
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 100% Coursework, consisting of one essay (70%) and a case report (30%)
Feedback Students will be offered the opportunity to complete a short written exercise, to be submitted in the middle of the semester. They will receive written feedback two weeks later. Written feedback will be provided on the final essay.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate a detailed understanding of changes in the criminal law within Enlightenment Scotland, including its scope, sources, and purported justification and authority. This knowledge will be developed through examination of, and critical engagement with, primary legal sources and secondary literature on the law and its application. Students will also have attained some knowledge of the social and intellectual context in which these changes occurred, and a critical appreciation of how legla changes might potentially be linked to this context.
  2. Employ a range of skills generally relevant to legal history, such as thinking about the development of doctrines and ideas; reading and analysing primary and seocndary sources and judging their relevance and reliability; and thinking critically about possible associations between legal changes and their social and intellectual context.
  3. Assess and formulate arguments.
  4. Develop their ability to work autonomously and show initiative (demonstrated through researching and writing their essays), and communicate and engage effectively and constructively with peers and senior colleagues (via assessed class participation).
Reading List
Core library resources will be Sir George Mackenzie's 'The Law and Customs of Scotland in Matters Criminal' and Baron David Hume's 'Commentaries on the Law of Scotland Respecting Crimes.' Versions of both of these texts are available online and the library has copies of each.

Other readings will be detailed in the seminar-specific reading lists.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Students will develop the following skills and attributes:
- Detailed knowledge and understanding of changes in criminal law in Enlightenment Scotland
- Knowledge of the social and intellectual context in which these legal ideas and practices occurred
- Critical analysis, originality and creativity
- Autonomy and initiative
- Communication with peers and senior colleagues
- Awareness of role and responsibilities
- Awareness of how legal and ethical values have changed over time
KeywordsCrime; Punishment; Enlightenment Scotland; Legal History; Criminal Law; Enlightenment
Course organiserDr Chloe Kennedy
Tel: (0131 6)51 5537
Course secretaryMiss Lauren McCrory-Irving
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