Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024 (archived)


Department: Law


Type Open Level 2 Credits 20 Availability Not available in 2023/24 Module Cap Location Durham


  • Introduction to English Law and Legal Method (LAW 1121) and The Individual and the State (LAW 1081) OR, at the discretion of Chair of Board of Studies or delegate, a suitable module or combination of modules from another Department.


  • Criminal Law (LAW 2221).

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • This module aims to:
  • Examine the different ways in which the objectives of the criminal process might be both defined and achieved;
  • Explore the rules governing criminal procedure and evidence;
  • Critically explore the broader issues, debates, values and structures in the broader criminal justice system;
  • Consider the overall effectiveness of the criminal justice process in light of recent international trends and human rights frameworks.


  • The module covers a range of issues in relation to the pre-trial, trial and sentencing processes. Topics may include the regulation of police powers under PACE and the rules governing criminal investigations and prosecutions; the structure of the criminal trial; the roles of the judge and jury; protections for vulnerable witnesses; selected evidential rules; sentencing issues and the role of victims.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Identify the main themes and issues in the study of criminal justice;
  • Demonstrate a broad knowledge and critical awareness of the operation of some of the principal institutions and actors within the criminal justice system and means by which they can be held accountable;
  • Display a sound knowledge and understanding of a substantial range of concepts, principles, and rules relating to the procedural law governing the prosecution, trial and sentencing of offences.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Students should be able to:
  • Exhibit subject specific skills relating to capacity for deduction, reasoning, investigation, critical legal analysis, and the systematic retrieval of complex legal materials;
  • Interpret and critically evaluate domestic law alongside relevant comparative law and theoretical approaches;
  • Offer informed personal opinions on the effectiveness of existing law and practice and the competing arguments in favour or against reform;
  • Engage in informed debate concerning the criminal justice system and the role of evidential rules within it.
Key Skills:
  • Students should be able to:
  • Demonstrate lateral thinking and ability to apply principles to practice;
  • Demonstrate skills in communication, problem solving, information technology and learning how to learn;
  • Demonstrate an ability to explore complex issues in a clear and informed manner in their written work;
  • Demonstrate an ability to work independently and to take responsibility for their own learning.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Students will be given the opportunity to consolidate, develop, present and apply the knowledge acquired through independent study. Students will be encouraged to utilise the wide range of learning resources, including electronic sources, available within the university in order to make a contribution to their learning and assessment and to enable them to acquire key and subject specific skills.
  • Lectures are used primarily to impart knowledge and to provide students with a framework for independent learning. They may also suggest approaches to evaluation and critical analysis.
  • Tutorials require students to display substantive knowledge, apply the concepts themselves, debate and develop a critical understanding of the area. Tutorials also give students the opportunity to analyse and resolve problems both individually and in small groups and to summarise and communicate their findings. Students may also be asked to participate in role play situations. This format will encourage advanced reading and in-depth, critical analysis.
  • The formative assignment develops essay-writing and/or problem-solving skills, the ability to engage in sustained evaluation of selected issues and the ability to evaluate the law in a critical and contextual way.
  • The examination and summative coursework test knowledge and understanding across the entire module. They also test the ability to focus on relevant legal issues and organise knowledge and argument appropriate to questions raised. Both the examination and coursework questions will provide the means for students to demonstrate the acquisition of subject knowledge and the development of their problem-solving skills.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 20 Weekly 1 hour 20
Tutorials 5 Normally: two in Michaelmas, three in Epiphany 1 hour 5
Preparation and reading 175

Summative Assessment

Component: Examination Component Weighting: 67%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Written examination 2hrs 30mins 100%
Component: Summative Essay Component Weighting: 33%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
summative essay 3000 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

1 x 2000 word essay.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University