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Session: 2022/23

Last modified: 10/03/2020 13:19:37

Title of Module: Honours Criminal Law

Code: LAWW10022 SCQF Level: 10
(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

Honours Criminal Law begins with an introduction and revision lecture covering the rudimentary principles and theories that are considered in the ordinary Criminal Law class. Thereafter, the module involves detailed consideration of the sources of Scots Criminal Law and a critical anlysis of the arguments for and against the codification of the law. Thereafter, the module is based upon seminars, presentations, discussion and debate surrounding topical, advanced issues in contemporary criminal law. The module examines the practical and theoretical research which surrounds various criminal law issues, such as: developments concerning sexual offences; corporate crime (including corporate homicide); organized crime and defences.  Given the dynamic nature of this area of law, it is likely that other matters will present themselves for discussion and analysis. 

  • 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 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. Investigate, analyse and evaluate advanced criminal law concepts as they develop in the jurisprudence of Scots Law.

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

L3. Analyse problems in terms of legal concepts and apply legal principles to propose solutions

L4. Engage in discourse on advanced criminal law issues

L5. Distinguish between alternative opinions on the basis of evidence presented in coherent and logical arguments

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 10.

Understanding of the ways in which criminal law has developed.
Understanding advanced criminal law issues and maintaining the currency of the subject knowledge.
Evaluating the effectiveness of the criminal law in relation to its defined purposes.

Practice: Applied Knowledge and Understanding SCQF Level 10.

Interpreting and explaining complex legal concepts.
Retrieving, interpreting and manipulating primary and secondary information from a variety of sources including electronic sources.

Generic Cognitive skills SCQF Level 10.

Giving reasoned opinions, identifying flaws in arguments and discriminating between the legally relevant and irrelevant.
Bringing together information from a variety of sources, including academic research publications

Communication, ICT and Numeracy Skills SCQF Level 10.

Communicating effectively and appropriately in speech and writing.
Interpreting complex primary materials.
Making effective use of information retrieval systems and use information technology applications to present documents in an appropriate form.

Autonomy, Accountability and Working with others SCQF Level 10.

Working effectively, together with others in groups or teams, taking a leadership role where appropriate.
Systematically identifying and addressing their own learning needs both in current and in new areas, making use of research primary legal source materials as appropriate.

Pre-requisites: Before undertaking this module the student should have undertaken the following:
Module Code:
Module Title:
Criminal Law
Other:Equivalent introductory Scots law module
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 seminars to allow students to identify, critically assess and analyse areas of criminal law that are of contemporary relevance. Students will be expected to engage with a variety of learning experiences in order to develop a deep understanding of developments in substantive criminal law in a broad context, taking account of such matters as political and social demands. 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 Delivery6
Tutorial/Synchronous Support Activity30
Asynchronous Class Activity30
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:

Unlike other undergraduate courses, there is no definitive list of resources given the topical and changing nature of this module. Instead, current specific reading lists will be given for each seminar. Students will be expected to at least consult the basic reading before attending class. The following are indicative of some required general resources

Sheriff Andrew M Cubie, (2016) Scots Criminal Law, 4th ed., London, Bloomsbury Professional
Jones, TH & Taggart, I (2018) Criminal Law 7th ed., London, Sweet & 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.

Draft Criminal Code for Scotland (published under auspices of Scottish Law Commission) (Edinburgh: TSO, 2003)

(**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 essay, worth 60% of the final mark, in which students will be expected to complete an analytical essay on a selected topic
Analysis of a topic selected by designated groups of students and approved by the lecturer, and focused upon in a group presentation worth 20%
An individual written report worth 20%, reflecting upon the substantive issues considered and the group work process, including a reflection of the student's own strengths and weaknesses
(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) Learning Outcome (5) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Essaycheck markcheck markcheck markcheck markcheck mark600

Component 2
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Learning Outcome (5) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Presentationcheck markcheck markcheck markcheck markcheck mark200

Component 3
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Learning Outcome (5) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Essaycheck markcheck markcheck markcheck markcheck mark200
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. The learning activities include an oral presentation for which appropriate support can be provided where required
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.