Criminal Law and Procedure

Subject LAWS30006 (2011)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2011.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2011:

April, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: Two 2-hour seminars per week.
Total Time Commitment: 144 hours.

Legal Method and Reasoning; Principles of Public Law or in each case their equivalents.

Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements: For the purposes of considering requests 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 providing support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Mr Kevin Heller


Melbourne Law School Student Centre
Tel: +61 3 8344 4475

Subject Overview:

The subject studies the legal categories, judicial culture, and socio-historical contexts through which the contemporary attribution of criminal responsibility takes place. The topics covered in this subject include:

  • Theories of criminal law and of the role of criminal law in society;
  • The formal structure of substantive criminal law;
  • The institutional arrangements of criminal procedure and their respective rationales;
  • The law of homicide and the law of defences;
  • The law of the non-fatal offences against the person;
  • The law of offences against property;
  • Extensions to substantive principles of criminal liability (examples may include strict liability, complicity and attempts); and
  • The law of criminal procedure.

Throughout each of these topics, the emphasis is on both the theories and the practices of criminal law.


On completion of the subject, students should have a clear understanding of the following specific areas:

  • The basic aims, structure and operation of the criminal justice system;
  • Theories of criminal law and of its role in contemporary society;
  • Selected aspects of criminal procedure, including the definition of crime;
  • The fundamental principles of substantive criminal law, and in particular, the elements of actus reus, mens rea and temporal coincidence;
  • Knowledge of the areas of substantive criminal law studied in the subject;
  • Key issues in contemporary criminal law reform.
  • Final examination: open-book. 3 hours writing time, plus 30 minutes reading time;
  • Court Visit: Compulsory but non-assessed court visit by students (in groups) with oral report by group to class on the visit.
Prescribed Texts:

Rush and Yeo, Criminal Law Sourcebook (2nd Edition).

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

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

On completion of the subject students should have developed the following generic skills:

  • Oral and written communication skills;
  • Thinking skills: critical thinking, problem-solving, analytical skills;
  • Capacities in information seeking and evaluation;
  • Planning and time management;
  • Working with and in different institutional and national cultures.
Related Course(s): Bachelor of Computer Science and Bachelor of Laws

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