Criminal Law

This information is for the 2019/20 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Peter Ramsay


This course is compulsory on the BA in Anthropology and Law and LLB in Laws. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit and to General Course students.

Course content

The course examines the 'general part' of criminal law and selected areas of the special part of criminal law in the context of theories of the aims and functions of criminalisation. The course will discuss the limits to criminalization; the conceptual framework of criminal liability (conduct, responsibility, capacity, defences); homicide; sexual offences; non-fatal violence against the person;  property offences (with particular reference theft, fraud, robbery and burglary);secondary participation in crime; attempts, conspiracy, encouragement; 'pre-inchoate' offences; regulatory offences.


20 hours of lectures and 9 hours of classes in the MT. 20 hours of lectures and 10 hours of classes in the LT. 1 hour of classes in the ST.

Formative coursework

This will be set by the teacher in charge of the class. A minimum of two pieces of written work will be required, usually one essay and one problem.

Indicative reading

A detailed reading list will be distributed at the start of the course (for the current list, see the public folders). A number of criminal law textbooks are available, and students will be expected to read the relevant parts of the most recent editions of one of these, e.g. Nicola Lacey, Oliver Quick & Celia Wells, Reconstructing Criminal Law; Andrew Ashworth and Jeremy Horder, Principles of Criminal Law; Jonathan Herring, Criminal Law: Text, Cases and Materials; M. Allen, Introduction to Criminal Law. They will also be expected to read all cases and materials marked as primary on the detailed reading lists provided.


Exam (100%, duration: 3 hours, reading time: 15 minutes) in the summer exam period.

Key facts

Department: Law

Total students 2018/19: 194

Average class size 2018/19: 12

Capped 2018/19: No

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Communication
  • Specialist skills