Criminal Litigation: Practice and Procedure

The details
Essex Law School
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 6
Monday 13 January 2025
Friday 21 March 2025
01 March 2024


Requisites for this module



Key module for


Module description

What happens in criminal proceedings? How does criminal litigation work in practice? And what procedures do the parties have to follow? We will explore the nature of criminal proceedings, from the police station to first appearance all the way through to trial, sentencing and appeal.

Our focus will be on the role of a criminal practitioner. The module will benefit students planning to pursue a legal career as a solicitor or barrister.

Module aims

The aim of this module is:

  • to equip students with an understanding of the processes involved at every stage of criminal litigation and the skills required of a criminal practitioner.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students will be expected to:

  1. Have knowledge and critical understanding of the fundamental principles and critical steps in the process of criminal litigation.

  2. Have the ability to critically engage with relevant legal concepts, values, principles and procedural rules, explaining the relationship between these concepts in a number of areas.

  3. Have the ability to analyse factual material, identify the legal context in which factual issues arise, relate the central legal and factual issues to each other.

  4. Have the ability to identify possible courses of action; an awareness of the legal and non-legal consequences of selecting a course of action and ability to advise the client.

  5. Have the ability to conduct legal research, find relevant sources and identify their relevance, weight and quality.

  6. Have the ability to communicate complex ideas and sustain arguments in a coherent and effective manner (using appropriate legal terminology) and organise and present information relevant to the intended audience.

  7. Have appreciation of the importance of effective legal writing skills and can produce well-presented, professional documents.

Module information

Indicative syllabus

The module will examine a range of procedures and stages in the criminal justice process, including such aspects as Police procedures, bail applications, the first appearance and plea before venue, case allocation, case management, trial, some aspects of the law of evidence, sentencing and appeals.

Learning and teaching methods

This module will be delivered via:

  • One 2-hour lecture per week
  • Five Fortnightly 2-hour seminars

Students are expected to undertake the reading before classes and be prepared to engage in discussion.



Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Exam  Main exam: In-Person, Open Book (Restricted), 120 minutes during Summer (Main Period) 
Exam  Reassessment Main exam: In-Person, Open Book (Restricted), 120 minutes during September (Reassessment Period) 

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
50% 50%


Coursework Exam
50% 50%
Module supervisor and teaching staff



External examiner

No external examiner information available for this module.
Available via Moodle
No lecture recording information available for this module.


Further information
Essex Law School

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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