module specification

LL4004 - Criminal Law (2024/25)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2024/25
Module title Criminal Law
Module level Certificate (04)
Credit rating for module 30
School Guildhall School of Business and Law
Total study hours 300
81 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
219 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 50%   Written Coursework (1,500 - 2,000 words)
Unseen Examination 50%   Time Constrained Examination
Running in 2024/25

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
No instances running in the year

Module summary

Criminal Law is a core module for the LL.B. courses and the BA in Law, which introduces students to the key principles of Criminal Law, which is one of the foundation subjects of English Law, as identified by the professional legal bodies, the Solicitors Regulation Authority and the Bar Standards Board.

The module provides an academic introduction to fundamental rules of criminal law, including the key principles of a number of criminal offences. Criminal law affects many aspects of human behaviour and interaction but has complex definitions. This module aims to help students to understand the changing landscape of criminal law as well as some of the major debates in the subject.

It also teaches and assesses key skills of analysis, academic writing and legal research in the context of criminal law. It does this by emphasising the use of primary and secondary sources of criminal law (legal judgments and Acts of Parliament as well as Parliamentary Papers and academic journal articles).


Characteristics of Criminal Law: burdens of proof, classification, overview of Human Rights Act 1998     LO 1 and 2

Actus Reus: coincidence, omissions, causation    LO 1 and 2

Mens Rea: intention, recklessness, negligence, gross negligence, strict/vicarious and corporate liability,    LO 1 and 2

Defences: automatism, insanity, intoxication, infancy, duress, necessity, public and private defence, mistake, consent   LO 1 and 2

Offences:  homicide -  murder, voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter  LO 1 

Violent Offences: assault and battery, offences contrary to sections 47,18 & 20 Offences Against the Person Act 1861, stalking and harassment, racially and religiously aggravated assaults  LO 2

Property Offences: theft, robbery, burglary, handling, blackmail, fraud, dishonest obtaining of services and making off without payment  LO 2

Sexual Offences: rape, assault by penetration, sexual assault  LO 2

Parties to Crime and Inchoate Offences: attempts, conspiracy, Serious  LO 1 and 2

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Learning & Teaching Strategy

Weekly two-hour lecture and one-hour seminar. 

The lecture will be used for:

Dissemination of knowledge through an overview of each topic with detailed guidance on appropriate aspects;
An introduction to relevant academic literature;
Guidance on learning strategies;
Use of blackboard and IT resources;
Whole group questions and discussion.

The seminar will be used for:

Development of skills necessary to attain the module learning outcomes through:
Written and oral questions/answers designed to reinforce fundamental rules/principles/cases;
A range of step by step writing exercises;
IT tasks such as research of cases and statutes
Legal writing

Blended Learning

All learning materials, previous examination questions and sample Q/A’s will be on blackboard for use in directed private study.
Student engagement will be encouraged in both lectures and seminars through weekly use of Weblearn for access to all of the above materials.
There will be required use of the professional legal databases, especially Westlaw and Lexis Library, for legal research

Opportunities for reflective learning/pdp

Each weekly seminar will contain space for students to reflect on what they have learnt in relation to the overall syllabus. There will be frequent feedback opportunities structured into the timetable and a range of sample answers posted onto Weblearn.


Employability strategy will aim to acquaint students with a range of employment avenues both in the legal profession and in those professions into which legal qualifications and skills are transferable.

Student’s Study Responsibilities

The need for attendance, punctuality, preparation and engagement will be emphasised with particular reference to written and IT research, problem-solving, team-work, discussion, debate and critical awareness of the subject

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, the students will be able to:

1. Relate the fundamental principles of criminal law in the context of homicide.

2. Describe and discuss further criminal offences, including manslaughter, property offences and non-fatal offences against the person, in a time-constrained environment.


Core Text:
Loveless, J and Allen, M, Complete Criminal Law: text, cases and materials (OUP)
Other Texts:

Clarkson, CMV & HM Keating, Criminal Law Text & Materials (Sweet and Maxwell)
Ormerod, D, Smith & Hogan: Criminal Law (OUP)
Allen, M, Cases and Materials on Criminal Law (Sweet and Maxwell)


Law Quarterly Review
The Journal of Criminal Law

Electronic Databases:

Westlaw and Lexis Library