SOAS University of London

School of Law

Criminal Law

Course Code:
Unit value:
Year of study:
Year 1
The Criminal Law module introduces students to the general principles of criminal law and to the social, political and moral context in which they have developed. The module concentrates on fatal and non-fatal offences against the person and offences against property as well as the range of defences that may be available on a criminal charge. The module also devotes time to questions of law reform.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

On successful completion of the module, students should be able to state and explain:

  • the general principles of criminal liability under English criminal law;
  • the substantive elements of major offences including homicide, non-fatal offences against the person, sexual offences, and offences against property;
  • principles of secondary and inchoate liability; and
  • both partial and general defences to criminal liability.

Ideally, students should be able to demonstrate their knowledge of the doctrine of criminal law in its socio-economic and political context.

Method of assessment

  • Coursework: 20% (2000 words)
  • Unseen written exam: 80%

Suggested reading

  • D Garland, The Culture of Control: Crime and Social Order in Contemporary Society (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001)
  • A Norrie, Crime, Reason and History: A Critical Introduction to Criminal Law (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006).


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules