Available in 2021
Course code



10 units


2000 level

Course handbook


Criminal Law and Procedure is Newcastle Law School’s foundational course in the criminal law. Students typically study this course in the second year of the combined B Laws (Hons) programs, which means that this is the first time you learn about the role that the state plays in proscribing norms of behaviour and regulating the conduct of its citizens through the criminal law. The course will take us on an intriguing exploration of human behaviour, and the way in which our criminal laws engage with contemporary social issues.

The course will develop your knowledge of the criminal law and foster a critical understanding of its function and application in practice. The course focuses primarily on the criminal laws of New South Wales, although comparative components are included where appropriate. Much of the course is devoted to studying the major criminal offences. Defences to criminal responsibility and the rules and principles of criminal procedure will also be examined in some detail. We will also begin to develop a familiarity with the principal agencies, procedures and routines involved in the administration of criminal justice in contemporary New South Wales.

Our foundational study of the criminal law focuses on the practice-context, which means that our learning activities and assessment items are designed to develop your contextual foundational knowledge of the substantive and procedural dimensions of the criminal law. Those activities will be largely problem-based, so that you can see how your developing skills in legal analysis and legal problem solving relate to your future professional careers. You will also further develop your skills in statutory interpretation, which are fundamental to the practice of criminal law in contemporary NSW.

Availability2021 Course Timetables

Newcastle City Precinct

  • Semester 2 - 2021

Learning outcomes

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

1. Demonstrate advanced theoretical and technical knowledge of major concepts and principles in the criminal law.

2. Identify the major actors and agencies and explain the major procedures involved in criminal law and its practice.

3. Evaluate the social, political, moral and ethical dimensions of criminal law and its practice.

4. Interpret, analyse and utlise primary and secondary materials relevant to the study of criminal law.

5. Engage in legal reasoning and apply legal knowledge to generate solutions to hypothetical criminal law problems.

6. Use developed written communication skills to transmit knowledge and ideas in the criminal law context, including in forms relevant to its professional practice.


Topics in this course include:•    Definitions of crime;•    Aims of criminal law;•    Criminal procedures (including investigation, arrest and bail); •    Elements of criminal offences;•    Non fatal offences against the person; •    Sexual offences;•    Drug offences;•    Property offences; •    Homicide; •    Defences (including mental illness, self-defence and intoxication);•    Principles extending criminal responsibility (including attempts, conspiracy and complicity);•    Criminal proceedings (including classification of offences and sentencing).


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: Written Assignment *

In Term Test: In term test *

Formal Examination: Final Exam *

* 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.
  • In Term Test: Attempt / Submission Requirement - Students must attempt/submit this assessment item to pass the course.
  • Written Assignment: Attempt / Submission Requirement - Students must attempt/submit this assessment item to pass 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

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.