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Session: 2022/23

Last modified: 15/07/2021 16:03:06

Title of Module: Criminal Law

Code: LAWW07013 SCQF Level: 7
(Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework)
Credit Points: 20 ECTS: 10
(European Credit Transfer Scheme)
School:School of Business & Creative Industries
Module Co-ordinator:Colin  Macintosh

Summary of Module

This module provides an introduction to the criminal law of Scotland.  Initially, criminal law is viewed within the sphere of public law and contrasted with other areas of law.  The criminal law is then considered in more detail with reference to justifications for its use, its sources and the structures within which it operates.  Thereafter, the substantive law is considered, as follows:

  • The fundementals of establishing criminal liability (actus reus, mens rea and strict liability).
  • Important doctrines concerning liability (e.g. causation, art and part and attempts) and defences.
  • The range of specific crimes, but focusing on the common law crimes against the person; against property; against public order and against justice.

The module is delivered using both lectures and tutorials.  Lectures will be conducted each week; while tutorials will run from the third week onwards. Lectures involve the delivery and exposition of the material forming the basis of the module.  Though this is structured and led by the lecturer, it is also intended that there will be a reasonable degree of student participation.  Tutorial, however, make quite specific demands upon students in relation to preparation and participation.  Tutorial questions and case studies are distributed at least one week before the tutorial takes place, allowing students to prepare appropriately.  While tutorials are dependent upon student effort, they are conducted in a manner that is structured and supported by the tutor.

  • L1. Investigate, analyse and evaluate areas of substantive criminal law.

  • L2. Make effective use of library and electronic resources to acquire legal material.

  • L3. Analyse practical case studies in terms of relevant legal principle, in order to reach practical conclusions.

  • L4. Engage in critical discourse in relation to relevant legal issues.

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 1check markTerm 2


Term 3


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Learning Outcomes: (maximum of 5 statements)

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

L1. Assess the elements of a crime and the definitions of a specific crime.

L2. Examine specific crimes and doctrines concerning criminal responsibility and defences, with reference to relevant legislation and case law.

L3. Apply the knowledge and skills previously noted to the consideration of case studies.

L4. Utilise learning resources, including electronic resources, to acquire knowledge and understanding of the law.

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.

Displaying knowledge and showing understanding of: the components of a crime; the principles relating to criminal liability and defences; the range of specific crimes known to the law of Scotland, particularly those relating to crimes against the person, property, public order and justice.

Practice: Applied Knowledge and Understanding SCQF Level 7.

Identifying and using primary and secondary legal sources.
Applying knowledge and understanding of legal principles to practical situations in order to draw reasoned conclusions.

Generic Cognitive skills SCQF Level 7.

Using basic and routine legal skills, techniques, practices and materials.
Practicing these in both routine and non-routine contexts.

Communication, ICT and Numeracy Skills SCQF Level 7.

Utilising a wide range of skills, including the use of information and communications technology, for the gathering, basic analysis and presentation of routine legal information, ideas and concepts.
Conveying complex ideas in well structured and coherent form.
Using a range of forms of communication effectively in both familiar and new contexts.

Autonomy, Accountability and Working with others SCQF Level 7.

Exercising initiative and independence in carrying out defined activities independently or as part of a team under guidance.
Identifying, reflecting upon and addressing personal learning needs.

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
The module is designed to facilitate engagement via weekly workshops to allow students to identify, critically assess and analyse areas of substantive criminal law. Students will be expected to engage with a variety of learning experiences in order to develop knowledge and understanding of criminal law in a realistic, contemporary context. The learning and teaching approach is inquiry based to encourage the development of theoretical knowledge and practical research skills.
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 Activity12
Personal Development Plan10
Asynchronous Class Activity20
Independent Study134
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:

Sheriff Andrew M Cubie, (2016) Scots Criminal Law, 4th ed., London, Bloomsbury Professional
Jones, TH & Taggart I, (2018) Criminal Law 7th ed., London, Sweet and Maxwell
Stair Memorial Encyclopaedia, (1995) The Laws of Scotland, Criminal Law Vol. 7
Gane, CHW & Stoddart, CN (2009) Casebook on Scottish Criminal Law 4th ed

Sheils, Bradley and others (2007) Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995 12th edition, W Green
Gordon G. (Ed.) (1996) Renton & Brown’s Criminal Procedure 6th ed., Edinburgh, W Green
Stair Memorial Encyclopaedia, Volume 17

*Raitt, F. Evidence, W. Green & Son or
Wilkinson, The Scottish Law of Evidence, Butterworths
Sheldon, D. Evidence, Cases and Materials. W. Green & Son
Evidence Essentials - Scottish Legal Essentials, James P Chalmers, Dundee University Press, 2012
I D Macphail, Scottish Criminal Evidence: Procedure and Practice (Incomplete typescript, 2009)

Scots Law Times, Juridical Review, Current Law, All England Law Reports

Law Society of Scotland
Scottish Courts
UK Parliament
Scottish Parliament

(**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

Where a module has Professional, Statutory or Regulatory Body requirements these will be listed here:
Students are required to attend scheduled teaching sessions and engage with the Virtual Learning Environment, lack of which could result in the student being referred to the Engagement Panel, and could prevent student progression, and ultimately successful degree completion.

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Supplemental Information

Programme BoardAccounting, Finance and Law
Assessment Results (Pass/Fail) No
Subject PanelAccounting, Finance & Law
ModeratorColin McFadyen
External ExaminerN McKerrell
Accreditation Details
Version Number


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Assessment: (also refer to Assessment Outcomes Grids below)
An oral presentation worth 20% of the final mark.
An essay worth 30% of the final mark.
An class test worth 50% of the final mark.
(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
Presentation check markcheck markcheck mark200

Component 2
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Essaycheck markcheck markcheck markcheck mark300

Component 3
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Class test (written)check markcheck markcheck markcheck mark500
Combined Total For All Components100% 0 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
This module is appropriate for any student. To pass this module a group presentation is required to be undertaken for which appropriate support can be arranged.
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.