Criminal Law


This module examines the Scots Law principles of criminal responsibility as well as the elements which must be proved in relation to the commission of particular crimes.


The aim of this module is to enable students to understand, explain and distinguish between common law and statutory offences in the Scottish jurisdiction.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module the student should be able to:

1.  Understand the general principles underpinning Scots criminal law

2.  Identify and explain the elements of common law and statutory crimes/offences: against the person, of dishonesty, against property, public order. morality, the state & administration of justice.

3.  Distinguish between strict liability offences and crimes where mens rea must be shown

4.  Identify, state and apply legal principles and demonstrate skills of oral and written communication and legal reasoning

Indicative Content

1 General Principles and Procedures

Sources of criminal law; mens rea and actus reus; causation; strict liability; selected statutory offences; corporate criminal liability; art and part liability; inchoate crimes; common law and statutory defences; summary and solemn procedure; appeals.

2 Crimes against the Person: Recognised defences

Assault; aggravations to an assault charge; causing reckless injury etc.;extortion; homicide; selected sexual offences per the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009.

3 Crimes of Dishonesty: Recognised defences

Theft and aggravated theft; embezzlement; robbery; reset; fraud; uttering as genuine.

4 Crimes relating to Public Order and Morality: Recognised defences

Breach of the peace; Public Indecency; Perjury and other selected offences against the course of justice.

5 Crimes against Property: Recognised defences

Malicious mischief; vandalism; fire-raising.

6 Specific Statutory Offences: Statute-specific defences

e.g. Road traffic offences; Misuse of drugs;

Statement on Teaching, Learning and Assessment

This module is delivered by lectures and tutorials. Lectures are interactive and students are encouraged to participate by asking questions/offering opinions on the application of legal principles to problem- based case studies. For tutorials, students are expected to prepare by undertaking directed reading and complete any tutorial exercise in advance of the tutorial. Students are given examples of previous cohort coursework submissions to critique to enable them to develop their writing and critical thinking skills. In week 25 a formative, exam-focused multiple choice quiz will be made available on Blackboard.

Teaching and Learning Work Loads

Total 200
Lecture 26
Tutorial/Seminar 13
Supervised Practical Activity 0
Unsupervised Practical Activity 0
Assessment 40
Independent 121

Guidance notes

Credit Value – The total value of SCQF credits for the module. 20 credits are the equivalent of 10 ECTS credits. A full-time student should normally register for 60 SCQF credits per semester.


We make every effort to ensure that the information on our website is accurate but it is possible that some changes may occur prior to the academic year of entry. The modules listed in this catalogue are offered subject to availability during academic year 2019/10 , and may be subject to change for future years.