Crimes of the Powerful

Subject CRIM30005 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 25-Jul-2016 to 23-Oct-2016
Assessment Period End 18-Nov-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 05-Aug-2016
Census Date 31-Aug-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 23-Sep-2016

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 30 contact hours per semester: 1 x 1.5 hour lecture and 1 x 1 hour tutorial per week for 12 weeks
Total Time Commitment:

Total of 170 hours

Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge:

Criminology at Levels 1 & 2

Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Prof Fiona Haines


Subject Overview:

This subject analyses the crimes and harms of the powerful. The subject examines the relationship between government, business and law both theoretically and through a series of case studies to explore why business harms and crimes are so difficult to tackle. These case studies of corporate and white-collar crime include complex financial fraud, industrial disasters, professional misconduct, tax avoidance and corruption in the context of business. This theoretical and case study material is used to demonstrate the challenges associated with deciding whether harmful behaviour by the powerful should be defined as crime and the difficulties inherent in using criminal law to curb such activities. Students will explore a range of criminological theories that can help explain the harms perpetuated by the powerful as well as the techniques employed by the state in regulating white-collar and corporate misconduct.

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this subject students should:

  • have an understanding of the problems of definition of the various forms of business, occupational or corporate criminality.
  • have an appreciation of the importance of corporate criminality in the context of the social and political life.
  • have an understanding of the forms of individual business or occupational crime, including such forms of financial crime as complex financial fraud
  • have learned some of the problems which concern the regulation of white collar crime, including the features of law which cause particular problems in the control of corporate misconduct
  • communicate effectively in oral and written formats.

  • An essay of 3000 words (75%) due mid-semester.
  • A take-home exam of 1000 words (25%) due during the examination period.

Hurdle Requirement: Students must attend a minimum of 75% of tutorials to pass this subject. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject. Regular participation in tutorials is required.

Note: Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per working day. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked.

Prescribed Texts:

A subject reader will be available.

Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

Available as a Breadth subject to non-Bachelor of Arts students

Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: 200 Point Master of Criminology
Criminology Major
Graduate Certificate in Arts - Criminology
Graduate Certificate in Arts - Sociology
Graduate Diploma in Arts - Criminology
Graduate Diploma in Arts - Sociology
Law and Justice

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