Criminal Law and Evidence


This module allows students to acquire then develop knowledge and understanding of the principles of Scots criminal law and the law of evidence in Scotland.


The aim of this Module is to identify and examine the principles of Scots criminal law and evidence.

Learning Outcomes

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

1.  Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the Scottish legal system differentiate civil and criminal law. Understand the sources of law, locating the law and general principles of criminal law.

2.  Identify and explain the elements to be proved in crimes:against the person,of dishonesty, against property, in relation to public order and morality,against the state and administration of justice

3.  Distinguish between strict liability offences and cases where criminal intent must be shown;

4.  Understand and apply the rules of evidence concerning relevance, admissibility, weight and sufficiency of evidence;

5.  Understand and apply the legal concepts of corroboration and of competence and compellability of witnesses as they apply in Scots Law;

6.  Understand the differences between witnesses as to fact and expert witnesses. Demonstrate skills of comprehension and application of legal principle.

Indicative Content

1 Crimes against the Person

Assault and aggravations of assault, homicide; defences.

2 Crimes of Dishonesty

Theft; robbery; fraud; defences.

3 Crimes relating to Public Order and Morality

Breach of the peace; public indecency; defences.

4 Crimes against Property

Malicious mischief; vandalism; defences.

5 Principles of criminal liability

Basic principles of criminal liability; inchoate crimes; art and part liability; causation.

6 Basic Concepts of Evidence and Requirements for proof

Relevance, admissibility, weight and sufficiency of evidence; Burdens and standards of proof; presumptions.

7 Types of Evidence and Corroboration

Oral, documentary, real evidence, direct and circumstantial, primary and secondary evidence;'best evidence'; the common law rules in criminal proceedings, The Moorov doctrine; admissions and confessions, corroboration by distress.

8 Competence and compellability of witnesses

Parties, accused, spouses, co-accused, children and other vulnerable witnesses. Privilege. Evidence of character.

9 Opinion and Expert Evidence; Hearsay; Evidence at the Trial

Expert and Opinion evidence; ss 259-262 of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995; res gestae and de recenti statements; conduct of inquiry (examination in chief, cross-examination and re-examination).

Statement on Teaching, Learning and Assessment

This module is delivered online to students from non-law cohorts and provides an overview of criminal law and the law of criminal evidence to contextualise prior vocational learning in non-law criminology and forensic science modules. The module is delivered online through recorded lectures, weekly self-test tutorial quizzes on Blackboard and regular classroom-based drop in sessions with the module tutors. An interactive discussion forum on Blackboard further encourages active student participation. The feedback exercise for this module in week 7 of the term involves a consolidated online formative test taken by the students in their own time. Students receive automatic feedback when the formative test has been completed. The summative assessments for this module comprises two online multiple choice tests in week 8 (criminal law) and week 15 ( law of evidence).

Teaching and Learning Work Loads

Total 200
Lecture 26
Tutorial/Seminar 0
Supervised Practical Activity 10
Unsupervised Practical Activity 13
Assessment 40
Independent 111

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.