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BASS Philosophy and Criminology

Year of entry: 2021

Course unit details:
Foundations of Criminal Justice

Unit code CRIM10421
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by School of Social Sciences
Available as a free choice unit? No



  1. Introduction to the course
  2. The police
  3. Suspects’ rights
  4. Crown Prosecution Service
  5. The court system
  6. [Reading Week – no lectures or seminars]
  7. Sentencing
  8. Victims
  9. Prisons
  10. Probation
  11. How to write your court report



  • To familiarise students with the history and structure of core agencies of the criminal justice system (CJS).
  • To introduce students to a number of different sources (academic, official and other) of information on relevant criminal justice issues.
  • To introduce students to essential legal terminology.
  • To give students a critical appreciation of the how the CJS operates.
  • To develop students’ autonomy and independence as learners.

Learning outcomes


  • Understand the role of core agencies of the criminal justice system
  • Understand essential legal terminology
  • Have a critical appreciation of how the CJS operates
  • Be able to find, understand and use academic sources
  • Apply what you have learned to a criminal case


Teaching and learning methods

Teaching in academic year 20/21 will reflect both University policy and local and national lockdown restrictions operating at the time of delivery. We will offer face-to-face teaching where possible and provide a like for like on-line experience for those unable to be on campus. 

Our teaching models will be flexible and allow us to adapt to changing conditions, however, the common intention across units is to provide (1) media, activities and other learning material that should be engaged with before scheduled teaching; (2) a timetabled 2-hour online lecture/workshop slot used for a range of online Q&A and follow-up activities; (3) a timetabled weekly 1-hour seminar/activity slot that will be face-to-face if possible and ‘live’ online if not/preferred; (4) weekly opportunity for 1:1 support. In total, there will be the opportunity for up to 30 hours of contact time.

Knowledge and understanding

- possess a general grasp of the main areas of the English legal system
- demonstrate an understanding of the criminal justice system and its component parts

Intellectual skills

- Students should understand the general structure of the English legal system.
- Students should also understand the sources and types of law in the English legal system.

Practical skills

- Accessing relevant information and Law Reports
- Discuss, illustrate, debate and evaluate key points/perspectives and communicate these in a clear and effective way.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

- Development of research ability
- Development of essay writing skills

Assessment methods

100% coursework (3000 words)
Students are required to critically assess the practices of the criminal justice system with reference to a criminal case. COVID-19 permitting, students will observe a real Crown Court case as part of this assessment.

Feedback methods

Compulsory non-assessed essay (1500 words).
Feedback given at the end of each seminar.

Individual feedback given online.

Recommended reading


Alison Liebling, Shadd Maruna, and Lesley McAra (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Criminology, 6th Edition. (Oxford: OUP, 2017).

Tim Newburn, Criminology 3rd ed. (Routledge, Abingdon, 2017)

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 20
Seminars 10
Tutorials 10
Independent study hours
Independent study 0

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
William Floodgate Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Restricted to: BA (Criminology) and LLB (Law with Criminology) students for whom this subject is compulsory, BA (Econ) students (all pathways) and BA Social Sciences (BASS).

Pre-requisites: None.

See Law School timetable


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