Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Criminal Law

Course unit fact file
Unit code LAWS10320
Credit rating 30
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Full year
Available as a free choice unit? No


Provide an overview of the doctrinal and theoretical aspects of criminal liability in England and Wales including detailed investigation of select criminal offences and defences. 


  1. Building an Offence: Actus Reus  
  2. Building an Offence: Mens Rea 
  3. Homicide and the Partial Defences to Murder 
  4. Criminal Law Reform and the Role of Legal Scholarship 
  5. Legal and Academic Skills: Writing Essays and Solving Problems 
  6. Non-Fatal Offences against the Person 
  7. General Defences to Criminal Liability 
  8. Property Offences 

Teaching and learning methods

This course unit uses the standard approach of a combination of lectures and 2-hour workshops as the scheduled teaching and learning activities. 


Lectures will include delivery of substantive content, interactive quizzes for ongoing oral feedback, and skills development sessions.  


Workshops will enable students to participate in a range of activities in small groups and will be led by the workshop leader. Workshops will provide opportunity for peer interaction and oral feedback from the workshop leader.  


This course unit has a Blackboard page which will be used to deliver the range of course materials and information about teaching, learning and assessment for that course unit.  

Independent study, including an online Discussion Board, will support research skills, and knowledge and understanding of the course unit content. 


Knowledge and understanding

  1. Understand the doctrinal basis for select criminal offences and defences in England and Wales.
  2. Develop knowledge of a range of theoretical perspectives within the academic literature on the aims, values and principles of the criminal law.

Intellectual skills

  1. Analyse doctrine by drawing from theoretical perspectives within the academic literature.
  2. Identify and present conflicting theoretical arguments and begin to weigh up their relative merits.

Practical skills

  1. Apply criminal law doctrine to practical problem-solving scenarios.
  2. Prepare written work meeting appropriate academic standards and reference sources correctly.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  1. Communicate theoretical and doctrinal ideas relating to criminal law clearly and succinctly to others, including in oral form.
  2. Engage with public policy proposals for criminal law reform using doctrine and theory. 


This unit is one of the Foundations of Legal Knowledge subjects required for students wishing to satisfy the Academic Stage of Training for the Bar Standards Board.

Assessment methods

MCQ exam 20%

Coursework (1 x 3000 words) 80%

Feedback methods

Individual and cohort feedback on summative assessments.

Formative coursework and MCQ exam.

Additional feedback on workshop tasks and in office hours.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 30
Practical classes & workshops 16
Independent study hours
Independent study 254

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Neil Cobb Unit coordinator

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