Module code: LW2220
The criminal law is the most coercive rule-enforcing institution of the state. It affords authority to the state to arrest, prosecute, and punish an individual for contravening the criminal law. This module examines the substantive criminal law of England and Wales – the scope of the criminal law, how criminal offences are defined, and the defences available. This is crucial underpinning for related and optional modules which explore who or why people commit crimes, how they are investigated by the police, how they are prosecuted and (if convicted) sentenced in court.
You will study not only what the criminal law is, but what it ought to be. Using theories of criminalisation and punishment, we will examine whether the substantive criminal law is satisfactory, and, where it is not, identify where and how it might be improved.
The following topics will typically be covered during the module: introduction to theories of criminalisation and punishment, the constructing elements of criminal liability (actus reus and men’s rea), fatal and non-fatal offences against the person, property offences, secondary liability, sexual offences, and defences.