Not available in 2020/21
LL4CE      Half Unit
Security and Criminal Law

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Peter Ramsay NAB 6.27


This course is available on the LLM (extended part-time), LLM (full-time), MSc in Criminal Justice Policy and University of Pennsylvania Law School LLM Visiting Students. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

This course is capped at 30 students. Students must apply through Graduate Course Choice on LSEforYou.


Undergraduate study of criminal law (or equivalent).

Course content

This is a course in advanced criminal law theory. The central concern of contemporary criminal justice policy is public protection. The course examines the different security interests that are protected by the different categories of criminal offence and the issues at stake in the expansion of the scope of the substantive criminal law. Examples will be drawn mainly from the criminal law of England and Wales, but also from other jurisdictions. An introduction to the structure of the criminal law in the common law world will be included. The theoretical issues are universal.

Seminars cover:

the concept of security;

the concept of criminal law;

the presumption of innocence;

‘true crimes’;

public welfare offences;

inchoate offences;

pre-emptive offences;

fear, harassment and speech offences;


the right to security.

Each seminar consists of a student presentation on a key question, class discussion and a teacher presentation. There is a reading week in Week 6.


20 hours of seminars in the LT.

There will be a Reading Week in week 6 of MT.

Formative coursework

All students are expected to produce one 2,000 word formative essay during the course.

Indicative reading

A Ashworth and L Zedner Preventive Justice (OUP 2014); I Dennis and GR Sullivan (eds), Seeking Security: Pre-empting the Commission of Criminal Harms (Hart, 2012); A Brudner, Punishment and Freedom (OUP, 2009); RA Duff, Answering for Crime (Hart, 2007);  P Ramsay The Insecurity State: Vulnerable Autonomy and the Right to Security In the Criminal Law (OUP, 2012); A Ashworth (et al), Prevention and the Limits of Criminal Law (OUP, 2013).


Exam (100%, duration: 2 hours, reading time: 15 minutes) in the summer exam period.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Law

Total students 2019/20: 14

Average class size 2019/20: 14

Controlled access 2019/20: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information