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Unit information: Criminal Law in 2020/21

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Criminal Law
Unit code LAWD10014
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Jennifer Collins
Open unit status Not open




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


This course introduces general principles of criminal liability alongside study of particular offences. For example, topics may include: the main concepts and principles which govern the construction of criminal liability – conduct, fault, causation, complicity, defences to criminal liability; homicide; non-fatal offences; inchoate offences; offences of dishonesty.

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of this unit a successful student will be able to:

When presented with a set of facts:

  • Identify the criminal law issues arising from those facts;
  • Cite relevant case law and statutory authority;
  • Explain how that authority applies to the issues raised by the facts, or how the facts may be distinguished;
  • Draw a reasoned conclusion as to how those issues may be resolved.

When presented with a proposition on an aspect of criminal law:

  • Present arguments for and against the proposition, citing relevant authorities and the views of other writers, and assessing the weight of their arguments;
  • Cite judicial and statutory authorities which support or rebut the proposition;
  • Examine any relevant reform proposals;
  • Draw a reasoned conclusion as to whether you agree or disagree with the proposition.

Teaching details

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

Assessment Details

1 x summative assessment: Timed Open Book Assessment with a specified word count (100%)

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

Reading and References

  • J. Herring, Criminal Law: Text, Cases and Materials (latest addition);
  • J. Horder, Ashworth’s Principles of Criminal Law (latest addition);
  • D. Ormerod and K. Laird, Smith and Hogan’s Text, Cases and Materials on Criminal Law (latest edition);
  • A.P. Simester, J.R. Spencer, F. Stark, G.R. Sullivan and G.J. Virgo, Simester and Sullivan’s Criminal Law: Theory and Doctrine (latest edition);
  • N. Lacey, C. Wells & O. Quick Reconstructing Criminal Law: Text and Materials (latest edition);
  • P. Glazebrook (ed), Blackstone's Statutes on Criminal Law (latest edition).