• Offered by Law School
  • ANU College ANU College of Law
  • Course subject Laws
  • Areas of interest Law

This course introduces students to the sources of law which define general principles of criminal responsibility, and to a selection of substantive criminal offences and criminal defences as well as to criminal procedure. The substantive offences include assault, sexual assault, murder, manslaughter, and property offences, whilst the criminal defences include provocation and self-defence. Students will be exposed to common law sources as well as legislation and criminal codes where relevant. Key legal theories of the criminal law will also be introduced. The lecture program is supported by interactive seminars that enable students both to engage with the application of legal principles to set fact scenarios and to consider issues of policy and law reform related to the substantive and procedural law that they are studying.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

The objectives of this course are to enable students to:

·         engage with the criminal law and procedure of NSW as well as a small portion of the codified criminal law of the ACT;

·         gain a sound knowledge and critical understanding of the relevant substantive and procedural legislation and case law meeting ‘Priestley Eleven’ requirement;

·         apply this knowledge and understanding in the context of individual and collaborative problem solving (ie identifying legal issues in a factual scenario, applying the relevant legal principles to those facts and using appropriate skills of legal reasoning and argumentation in reaching a legally sustainable conclusion);

·         practice legal reasoning skills orally and in written form;

·         contribute to the learning of others and engage in collaborative work;

·         become familiar with the more important debates about the purposes of the criminal law and the fundamental concepts that it embodies; and

·         appreciate the broad political and social forces that shape selected areas of the criminal law.


At the conclusion of this course, students should be able to:

1.     define and contrast key features of the NSW common law and the ACT criminal law (namely offences, defences, arguments in defence and general principles of criminal responsibility);

2.     formulate and integrate substantive and procedural law arguments;

3.     define, explain, distinguish and apply relevant legal principles to a set of facts (ie identifying legal issues in a factual scenario, accurately explaining and applying the relevant legal principles to those facts and using appropriate skills of legal reasoning and argumentation to generate a legally sustainable conclusion);

4.     do so (see the point above) both orally and in written form;

5.     demonstrate familiarity with relevant legislation, case law and other course readings;

6.     demonstrate precision and conciseness in formulating precise statements of legal principle;

7.     work collaboratively with team members and peer assess the performance of fellow team members;

8.     contribute to the learning of others (through teamwork, regular attendance at tutorials and contribution to tutorial discussions);

9.     demonstrate a capacity to discriminate between problematic and non-problematic legal issues embedded in a set of facts;

10.  reflect critically on and synthesise the more important policy and law reform debates in the context of theoretical debates as raised by the modern criminal law;

11.  research and apply knowledge derived from the course content and readings with autonomy, judgment and adaptability in order to develop a sustainable analysis or argument concerning particular topics, issues or debates relating to NSW criminal law.

Indicative Assessment

Tutorial participation, a team debate, a mid-semester exam and an exam at the end of the course.

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There will be 3 hours of large group lectures each week supplemented by a tutorial program. A further 6 plus hours of private study is expected per week in order to review required reading and to prepare for tutorials.

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must be studying the Juris Doctor and must have completed LAWS1201 Foundations of Australian Law, or completed LAWS6101 Foundations of Australian Law.

Prescribed Texts

S Bronitt and B McSherry, Principles of Criminal Law (3rd edition, LawBookCo, 2010).

RN Howie and PA Johnson, Annotated Criminal Legislation New South Wales 2016- 2017 edition (Lexis Nexis, 2015).


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2017 $3852
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2017 $5130
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
3716 20 Feb 2017 27 Feb 2017 31 Mar 2017 26 May 2017 In Person N/A

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