The University of Newcastle, Australia
Available in 2020
Course code



10 units


2000 level

Course handbook


Criminal Law and Procedure is the first introductory course to the criminal law. The course will develop your knowledge of the key areas of criminal liability, and aims to develop a critical understanding of the function and application of the criminal law. The focus is primarily the criminal laws of New South Wales, although a comparative component is included.

The course introduces the principles of criminal responsibility. It will include detailed consideration of a range of criminal offences, defences, and the broader context of the criminal law. The rules of criminal procedure will be examined in some detail. The principal agencies, procedures and routines involved in the administration of criminal justice will be addressed. This course will also contribute to the further development of your skills in legal problem solving, legal research and analysis, and written communication in a professional legal context.

Availability2019 Course Timetables

Newcastle City Precinct

  • Semester 2 - 2020

Replacing course(s)

This course replaces the following course(s): LAWS2004A. Students who have successfully completed LAWS2004A are not eligible to enrol in LAWS2030.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Describe the concepts and principles of the criminal law.

2. Explain the major agencies and procedures involved in the criminal justice system.

3. Critically evaluate the social, political, moral and ethical dimensions of the criminal law.

4. Locate and retrieve primary and secondary materials relevant to the study of criminal law.

5. Interpret, analyse and critique primary and secondary materials relevant to the study of criminal law.

6. Engage in legal reasoning and apply legal knowledge in solving hypothetical criminal law problems.

7. Use developed written communication skills in the context of criminal law.

8. Orally present and defend arguments in interactive dialogue with the teacher and peers in a style consistent with professional client consultations, mediation, negotiation and court appearances.


This course will introduce students to the concepts and principles of the criminal law, including principles of criminal responsibility and a range of criminal offences. This course will also address in detail the major agencies and procedures that comprise the criminal justice system (including contemporary policing, pre-trial procedures and prosecution of crime), and the major principles of criminal sentencing. In particular, the course covers:

  • Foundations of criminal law in NSW
  • Definitions of Crime
  • Elements of Crime
  • Aims of the criminal law
  • Strict and absolute liability
  • Classification of offences
  • Murder
  • Voluntary and involuntary manslaughter
  • Assaults and Domestic Violence
  • Sexual offences
  • Drug offences
  • Mental state defences
  • Mental illness
  • Insanity
  • Intoxification
  • Duress, necessity, self-defence and provocation
  • Attempts, conspiracy and complicity
  • Investigation, arrest and bail
  • Trial, sentencing and appeal


This course is only available to students enrolled in the Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and associated combined degree programs.

Assumed knowledge

The course assumes students have completed the core 1000 level law subjects (LAWS1010, LAWS1011, LAWS1020 and LAWS1021).

Assessment items

Written Assignment: Client Advice on Liability

Participation: Attendance at and group participation in seminars and workshops *

Formal Examination: Formal Examination *

Quiz: Online Quiz

* This assessment has a compulsory requirement.

Compulsory Requirements

In order to pass this course, each student must complete ALL of the following compulsory requirements:

Course Assessment Requirements:

  • Formal Examination: Attempt / Submission Requirement - Students must attempt/submit this assessment item to pass the course.
  • Participation: Attempt / Submission Requirement - Students must attempt/submit this assessment item to pass the course. - Attendance at all classes (seminars and workshops) will be monitored and records maintained by the Course Coordinator. In order to satisfy the “Attendance” requirement, students must be present at a minimum of 80% of scheduled classes as spelled out in the course outline, unless they are able to demonstrate that their absence falls within the Adverse Circumstances policy. Unless this requirement is met, despite marks awarded in other assessment items, the student will receive a zero mark and an FF grade for the course.

Contact hours

Newcastle City Precinct

Online Activity

Online 1 hour(s) per Week for Full Term


Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term