Criminal Law

The details
Law (School of)
Colchester Campus
Full Year
Undergraduate: Level 6
Thursday 03 October 2019
Friday 26 June 2020
02 August 2019


Requisites for this module



Key module for

LLB MN10 Law with Finance,
LLB MN11 Law with Finance (Including Year Abroad),
LLB MN12 Law with Finance (Including Placement Year)

Module description

This 30 credit module, which is taught across the academic year, introduces students to the substantive criminal law of England and Wales. This will involve a study of the law governing criminal liability.

Module aims

To introduce and develop understanding of Criminal Law

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module students at level 6 should be able to demonstrate the following:

Knowledge and understanding of the legal elements of criminal liability and the major criminal offences and defences

An understanding of the criminal law in its wider social, political, and philosophical context

An ability to read, understand, and analyse judicial decisions

An ability to break down a criminal law statute to its component parts and to interpret the statute

An ability to analyse and answer factual problems raising issues of criminal liability, and, in particular, to be able to do the following:

Identify the legal issue(s) arising

Identify and explain the relevant law

Engage in legal reasoning and problem-solving by applying the law, using relevant statutes and case-law, to the factual scenario

Appreciate the importance of facts and how they can affect legal analysis

An ability to evaluate the criminal law and to present a coherent oral and written argument on that basis

Module information


1. An Introduction to Criminal Law:

- Preliminary matters: Classification, Procedure, the Courts, Sentencing, and Appeals

- Criminal Law Theory

2. The Elements of Crime: Actus Reus

3. The Elements of Crime: Mens Rea

- Intention

- Recklessness

- Negligence

4. Offences Against the Person: Assault & Consent as a defence to Offences Against the Person

5. Homicide

- Murder

- Voluntary Manslaughter: Loss of Control & Diminished Responsibility c. Involuntary Manslaughter: Constructive Manslaughter, Gross Negligence Manslaughter, Reckless Manslaughter

6. Non-Consensual Sexual Offences: Rape, Sexual Assault,

7. Property Offences

- Theft

8. Defences: Incapacity

- Infancy

- Insanity

- Automatism

- Mistake

- Intoxication

9. Defences: Other General Defences

- Duress

- Duress of Circumstances

- Necessity

- Public/Private Defence

10. Inchoate Crimes: Attempt

11. Parties to Crime

Learning and teaching methods

Weekly lectures and bi-weekly tutorials


  • Child, John; Ormerod, D. C.; Smith, J. C. (©2019) Smith, Hogan, and Ormerod's essentials of criminal law, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • (©2019) Blackstone's statutes on criminal law 2019-2020, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   Participation    12.5% 
Coursework   Preparation    25% 
Coursework   Summative Assignment   13/03/2020  62.5% 
Exam  1440 minutes during Summer (Main Period) (Main) 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
40% 60%


Coursework Exam
0% 100%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Simon Cooper, email: sjcoop@essex.ac.uk.
Dr Audrey Guinchard, email: abguin@essex.ac.uk.
Dr Audrey Guinchard, Mr Simon Cooper, Dr Oriola Sallavaci, Angela Francis
Law General Office, 01206872529, lawugadmin@essex.ac.uk



External examiner

Dr Christopher Lloyd
Oxford Brookes University
Senior Lecturer
Available via Moodle
Of 250 hours, 80 (32%) hours available to students:
170 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information
Law (School of)

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