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Session: 2022/23

Last modified: 31/03/2022 10:36:19

Title of Module: Scottish Criminal Law

Code: CRIM07004 SCQF Level: 7
(Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework)
Credit Points: 20 ECTS: 10
(European Credit Transfer Scheme)
School:School of Education & Social Sciences
Module Co-ordinator:C  Wilson

Summary of Module

This module will provide students with information and allow them to analyse a number of the important fundamental principles and concepts that underpin the criminal law in Scotland. These will include:

  • Principles used when identifying whether or not an action may attract criminal liability, including the legal concepts of mens rea and actus reus
  • Categories of crime including mala in se and mala prohibita, and the concept of strict liability
  • Defences to accusations of criminal liability
  • Legal doctrines such as causation, art and part liability, Moorov, and Distress
  • Admissibility and Exclusion of Evidence in the Scottish Criminal Courtroom
  • A range of specific categories of criminal offence including crimes against the person and sexual offences

There will be a combination of standard lectures and seminars covering theoretical and practical issues, which will lead to the final assessment which involves working in groups to simulate a real legal team with the submission of a skeleton argument and bundle two weeks in advance of then carrying out a ‘Moot’ (a mock court case) in groups of 4 (with either 3 or 5 as an exception should class numbers require this) students, allowing students to consider and put into practice a range of theoretical and professional practice concepts taught throughout the module.

For all of the above, the VLE will be utilised both to provide information and allow interaction for students and staff.

Module Delivery Method
Face-To-FaceBlendedFully OnlineHybridCHybridOWork-based Learning
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Term used to describe the traditional classroom environment where the students and the lecturer meet synchronously in the same room for the whole provision.

A mode of delivery of a module or a programme that involves online and face-to-face delivery of learning, teaching and assessment activities, student support and feedback. A programme may be considered “blended” if it includes a combination of face-to-face, online and blended modules. If an online programme has any compulsory face-to-face and campus elements it must be described as blended with clearly articulated delivery information to manage student expectations

Fully Online
Instruction that is solely delivered by web-based or internet-based technologies. This term is used to describe the previously used terms distance learning and e learning.

Online with mandatory face-to-face learning on Campus

Online with optional face-to-face learning on Campus

Work-based Learning
Learning activities where the main location for the learning experience is in the workplace.

Campus(es) for Module Delivery
The module will normally be offered on the following campuses / or by Distance/Online Learning: (Provided viable student numbers permit)
Paisley:Ayr:Dumfries:Lanarkshire:London:Distance/Online Learning:Other:
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Term(s) for Module Delivery
(Provided viable student numbers permit).
Term 1


Term 2check markTerm 3


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Learning Outcomes: (maximum of 5 statements)

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

L1. Critically analyse the elements of a crime, the definitions of a specific crimes, the doctrines and principles concerning criminal responsibility and defences, all with reference to relevant legislation and case law.

L2. Apply the knowledge and skills taught in both lectures and seminars to the creation of coherent and relevant legal arguments both formatively and summatively.

L3. Utilise learning resources, including electronic resources, to acquire knowledge, understanding of the law and the ability to critically analyse and apply the law.

L4. Demonstrate practice of academic conventions

Employability Skills and Personal Development Planning (PDP) Skills
SCQF Headings During completion of this module, there will be an opportunity to achieve core skills in:
Knowledge and Understanding (K and U) SCQF Level 7.

Work with:

An overall appreciation of the body of knowledge that constitutes criminal law;

Knowledge that is embedded in the main theories, concepts and principles of criminal law.

Practice: Applied Knowledge and Understanding SCQF Level 7.

Apply knowledge, skills and understanding:

In practical contexts;

In using some of the basic and routine professional skills, techniques, practices and materials associated with criminal law.

Generic Cognitive skills SCQF Level 7.

Present and evaluate arguments, information and ideas that are routine to criminal law;

Use a range of approaches to address defined and /or routine problems and issues within familiar contexts.

Communication, ICT and Numeracy Skills SCQF Level 7.

Use a wide range of routine skills and some advanced skills associated with criminal law, for example:

Convey complex ideas in well-structured and coherent form;

Use a range of forms of communication effectively in both familiar and unfamiliar contexts;

Select and use standard ICT applications (such as WESTLAW) to process and obtain a variety of information and data.

Autonomy, Accountability and Working with others SCQF Level 7.

Exercise some initiative and independence in carrying out defined mock activities at a professional relating to the practice of law within the courtroom;

Take account of own and others’ roles and responsibilities when carrying out and evaluating tasks;

Work, under guidance, with others to acquire an understanding of current professional practice.

Pre-requisites: Before undertaking this module the student should have undertaken the following:
Module Code:
Module Title:
Co-requisitesModule Code:
Module Title:

* Indicates that module descriptor is not published.

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Learning and Teaching
Standard lecture format is highly appropriate in order to provide necessary key principles in a structured way and give students the necessary tools they can use to underpin their seminar and assessment work. Seminars will be run partly to allow students to display their learned knowledge, and workshops will be designed to allow them to develop practical skills in a structured environment. All learning activities will be varied from the simple information flow format to allow for interactivity with use of polls, students invited to the front of the class to play relevant roles in order to demonstrate the complexity of some issues, Q&A, use of contextualisation short videos, and other forms of demonstration that aid the delivery of the subject matter.
Learning Activities
During completion of this module, the learning activities undertaken to achieve the module learning outcomes are stated below:
Student Learning Hours
(Normally totalling 200 hours):
(Note: Learning hours include both contact hours and hours spent on other learning activities)
Lecture/Core Content Delivery24
Tutorial/Synchronous Support Activity6
Laboratory/Practical Demonstration/Workshop4
Personal Development Plan2
Asynchronous Class Activity36
Independent Study128
200 Hours Total

**Indicative Resources: (eg. Core text, journals, internet access)

The following materials form essential underpinning for the module content and ultimately for the learning outcomes:

Chalmers, J (2017) Scottish Evidence Law Essentials 4th ed., Edinburgh University Press

Gordon, GH & Christie, MGA (2010) The Criminal Law of Scotland 3rd ed., Edinburgh, W Green / SULI

Jones, TH & Taggart, I (2015) Criminal Law 6th ed., Edinburgh, W Green

Keane, E & Scullion D (2016) – Evidence – Principles, Policy & Practice, Edinburgh, W Green

Sheriff Andrew M Cubie, (2016) Scots Criminal Law, 4th ed., London, Bloomsbury Professional

(**N.B. Although reading lists should include current publications, students are advised (particularly for material marked with an asterisk*) to wait until the start of session for confirmation of the most up-to-date material)

Engagement Requirements

In line with the Academic Engagement Procedure, Students are defined as academically engaged if they are regularly engaged with timetabled teaching sessions, course-related learning resources including those in the Library and on the relevant learning platform, and complete assessments and submit these on time. Please refer to the Academic Engagement Procedure at the following link: Academic engagement procedure

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Supplemental Information

Programme BoardSocial Sciences
Assessment Results (Pass/Fail) No
Subject PanelUG Social Sciences - Politics & Criminal Justice
ModeratorG O'Donnell
External ExaminerD Parker
Accreditation Details
Version Number


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Assessment: (also refer to Assessment Outcomes Grids below)
Students will be assessed with a piece of work that simulates real legal practice and litigation; this will involve small groups of 4 (with 3 or 5 possible as an exception should class numbers require) students working together to prepare a legal bundle and skeleton argument
After submitting their skeleton argument, students will then carry out a mock criminal court case allowing students to consider a range of theoretical and practical knowledge and skills taught throughout the module.
(N.B. (i) Assessment Outcomes Grids for the module (one for each component) can be found below which clearly demonstrate how the learning outcomes of the module will be assessed.
(ii) An indicative schedule listing approximate times within the academic calendar when assessment is likely to feature will be provided within the Student Handbook.)

Assessment Outcome Grids (Footnote A.)

Component 1
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Portfolio of practical workcheck markcheck markcheck markcheck mark501

Component 2
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Presentationcheck markcheck markcheck markcheck mark500
Combined Total For All Components100% 1 hours

A. Referred to within Assessment Section above
B. Identified in the Learning Outcome Section above

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  1. More than one assessment method can be used to assess individual learning outcomes.
  2. Schools are responsible for determining student contact hours. Please refer to University Policy on contact hours (extract contained within section 10 of the Module Descriptor guidance note).
    This will normally be variable across Schools, dependent on Programmes &/or Professional requirements.

Equality and Diversity
Aligned with the overall commitment to equality and diversity stated in the Programme Specifications, the module supports equality of opportunity for students from all backgrounds and with different learning needs. Using Moodle, learning materials will be presented electronically in formats that allow flexible access and manipulation of content (part-time and distant learning students should check with their programme leader for any queries). The module complies with University regulations and guidance on inclusive learning and teaching practice. Specialist assistive equipment, support provision and adjustment to assessment practice will be made in accordance with UWS policy and regulations. The University’s Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Policy can be accessed at the following link:

Our partners are fully committed to the principles and practice of inclusiveness and our modules are designed to be accessible to all. Where this module is delivered overseas, local equivalent support for students and appropriate legislation applies.

UWS Equality and Diversity Policy
(N.B. Every effort will be made by the University to accommodate any equality and diversity issues brought to the attention of the School)

2014 University of the West of Scotland

University of the West of Scotland is a Registered Scottish Charity.

Charity number SC002520.