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Unit information: Criminal Law and Criminal Justice in 2021/22

Unit name Criminal Law and Criminal Justice
Unit code LAWDM0086
Credit points 30
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Russell
Open unit status Not open




School/department University of Bristol Law School
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law


This course develops a contextual and critical approach to understanding the criminal law and criminal justice. In particular, it focuses on the different ways in which we try to make sense of criminal law and criminal justice, including the structure of criminal liability (inchoate offences, complicity and defences), and specific areas such as violence, homicide and property offences.

Students should be advised that it is most appropriate for students who have not previously studied English/Welsh Criminal Law.

Intended learning outcomes

The unit aims to develop an understanding of criminal law and develop a contextual approach to the study of crime, criminal law and criminal process, along with associated socio-political and theoretical perspectives. After completing the unit, students will be able to:

  • display a general knowledge of the principles of English criminal law and process,
  • appreciate the contextual background to the construction of crime, criminal law and the workings of the criminal justice system,
  • research further material in the field,
  • apply this to the solution of legal problems and the discussion of legal issues, and
  • engage in critical analysis of the law from informed socio-political and theoretical perspectives.

Students should be able to:

  • state the law accurately,
  • apply legal principles to problem case scenarios,
  • to think critically about ways in which the law could be reformed.

Teaching details

Teaching will be delivered through a variety of asynchronous and synchronous activities

Assessment Details

2 x summative assessment: 2x Timed Open Book Assessment with a specified word count (50% each)

The assessment will assess all of the intended learning outcomes for this unit.

Reading and References

  • Ashworth's Principles of Criminal Law, by Jeremy Horder (8th edition 2016, Oxford University Press)
  • N Lacey, C Wells & O Quick, Reconstructing Criminal Law: Text and Materials (4th edition 2010, Cambridge University Press)
  • J Herring, Criminal Law: Text, Cases and Materials 8th edition (OUP: 2018)
  • Clarkson and Keating: Criminal Law – Texts and Materials, by SR Kyd, T Elliott and MA Walters (9th edition 2017, Sweet and Maxwell)

Further reading will be indicated on your unit guide.