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Unit information: Criminal Law and Criminal Justice in 2021/22

Unit name Criminal Law and Criminal Justice
Unit code LAWDM0086
Credit points 30
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Mr. Matt Rollinson
Open unit status Not open




School/department University of Bristol Law School
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

This course develops a contextual and critical approach to understanding the criminal law and criminal justice. In particular, it focuses on the different ways in which we try to make sense of criminal law and criminal justice, including the structure of criminal liability (inchoate offences, complicity and defences), and specific areas such as violence, homicide and property offences.

Students should be advised that it is most appropriate for students who have not previously studied English/Welsh Criminal Law.

Intended Learning Outcomes

The unit aims to develop an understanding of criminal law and develop a contextual approach to the study of crime, criminal law and criminal process, along with associated socio-political and theoretical perspectives. After completing the unit, students will be able to:

  • display a general knowledge of the principles of English criminal law and process,
  • appreciate the contextual background to the construction of crime, criminal law and the workings of the criminal justice system,
  • research further material in the field,
  • apply this to the solution of legal problems and the discussion of legal issues, and
  • engage in critical analysis of the law from informed socio-political and theoretical perspectives.

Students should be able to:

  • state the law accurately,
  • apply legal principles to problem case scenarios,
  • to think critically about ways in which the law could be reformed.

Teaching Information

Teaching will be delivered through a variety of asynchronous and synchronous activities

Assessment Information

2 x summative assessment: 2x Timed Open Book Assessment with a specified word count (50% each)

The assessment will assess all of the intended learning outcomes for this unit.


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. LAWDM0086).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.