Not currently offered
Course code



10 units


6000 level

Course handbook


Advanced Criminal Law explores specialised themes in the criminal law related to the importance of the mental element in crime generally together with advanced analysis of mental state defences. Other topics will vary with each offering to reflect recent and significant issues in the criminal law and may include the role and impact of policing, the importance of sentencing law and practice, the federal-state framework of Australian criminal laws, and the elements and investigation of some particular criminal offences. The contemporary issues examined in the course will be set to reflect current reform and critical comment.


Not currently offered.

This Course was last offered in Semester 1 - 2020.

Learning outcomes

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

1. Demonstrate specialised knowledge and advanced and integrated understanding of the current theoretical and practical issues relating to the concept of crime and the role of criminal law in society.

2. Demonstrate specialised knowledge and advanced understanding of criminal responsibility, criminal offences, mental state defences, defences of compulsion, the principal agencies involved in the administration of criminal justice and sentencing.

3. Critically evaluate the role of criminal law in the criminal justice system, including issues of policy, practice and procedure, which may influence the outcome of cases and formulation of legislation in this area of law.

4. Critically analyse and synthesise complex information by applying principles of law in the specific context of the advanced study of criminal law.

5. Apply advanced skills of legal research, oral and written communication, synthesis and analysis of primary and secondary legal materials, and analysis and evaluation of competing policy considerations.


Topics in this course include:

  1. "Crime and the mind" - thematic topic involving advanced analysis of intention, knowledge and volition in criminal responsibility, including joint criminal enterprises. Also, will involve advanced and integrated analysis of mental state defences in the criminal law.
  2. Focus studies on selected criminal offences using cases and/or hypothetical fact problems to look at the substantive elements of the offence, investigation, pre-trial and trial procedures by prosecution and defence, punishment and appeal issues.
  3. The principal agents in the administration of criminal justice - critical examination of the role of police in the criminal justice system, including issues arising from the Wood Royal Commission into the NSW Police Force.
  4. Federal criminal law " specialised examination of the federal-state framework of Australian criminal laws including the development and implementation of a national criminal code.
  5. Sentencing issues in the criminal justice system - advanced analysis of the theoretical principles of sentencing and their practical application in contemporary sentencing systems.
  6. Current Issues in Criminal Justice - to reflect any important issues of current theoretical and practical significance requiring synthesis of complex information and critical examination of proposed reforms not otherwise dealt with under fixed course content.


This course is only available to students enrolled in the Juris Doctor/ Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice program, or in a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) combined program.

Assumed knowledge

LAWS6000 Legal System and Method I, and LAWS6001 Legal System and Method II

LAWS6002A Torts Part A, or LAWS6120 Torts I

LAWS6002B Torts Part B, or LAWS6121 Torts II

LAWS6003A & LAWS6003B Criminal Law & Procedure Part A & B, or LAWS6130 Criminal Law & Procedure

LAWS6004A Contracts Part A, or LAWS6140 Contracts I

LAWS6004B Contracts Part B, or LAWS6141 Contracts II

LAWS6005 Property

LAWS6009 Evidence

Assessment items

Report: Research Paper

Presentation: Presentations - Class

In Term Test: Examination: Take Home

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.