• Offered by ANU Law School
  • ANU College ANU College of Law
  • Course subject Laws
  • Areas of interest Law
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Prof Mark Nolan
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in Second Semester 2018
    See Future Offerings

This course explores the interface of psychology and criminal law. Legal psychology as a sub-discipline of psychology and an example of interdisciplinary study in law is described, and its historical and future development is discussed. Topics usually covered include mental illness and the law, risk assessment, witness memory, investigative interview techniques, detecting deception, profiling, children in court, jury research, correctional psychology, sentencing. Material discussed is primarily of relevance to the Australian legal system. The course offers a critical perspective on legal psychology as well as invites students to be critical about the legal treatment of psychological concepts in statute and case law. Students are also shown how to research the interdisciplinary literature via relevant databases, and are given confidence to research and work with empirical psychological reports.

Learning Outcomes

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

Intended Learning Outcomes
  • to obtain advanced knowledge in this area of interdisciplinary study;
  • reflect critically on the law’s impact on the psychology of those regulated by law;
  • plan and execute interdisciplinary research with independence in order to produce original scholarship;
  • develop technical skills to use psychological literature databases to retrieve empirical psychological research reports;
  • develop technical skills to understand the basic structure and meaning of scientific report writing used in empirical psychological research;
  • develop skills to design and write interdisciplinary research projects (case notes and essays/briefing papers/law reform submissions);
  • enhance cognitive skills and confidence to research, read and critically analyse empirical psychological reports;
  • enhance cognitive skills and confidence to research, read and critically analyse secondary legal psychological literature that comments on law and legal issues;
  • enhance cognitive skills to read cases, legislation, and legal commentary in order to identify the psychological assumptions underlying legal doctrines, legal reasoning, legal procedure, and the legal regulation of human behaviour;
  • generate new understanding of and solutions to complex problems relating to the interface between law and psychology in the context of criminal law, mental health law, and/or other sub-disciplines of law;
  • communicate interdisciplinary critique to a variety of audiences.

Indicative Assessment

Assessment for this course consists of one formative assessment exercise, that will be commented on by the lecturer but not marked, and three compulsory and non-redeemable elements:

  • a formative research exercise relating to use of the PsycINFO research
  • a case note OR empirical report comment (40%,  2000 words)
  • an online WATTLE quiz on the Focus Readings (10%)
  • a research essay (50%, 2500 words)

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


Three contact hours per week. Students are generally expected to devote at least 10 hours overall per week to this course.

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must be studying a program which includes the Bachelor of laws or Juris Doctor and completed or be completing five LAWS 1000 or 6100 level courses or JD(O) and have completed LAWS8712 Australian Public Law and International Law B.

Prescribed Texts

MA Nolan and J Goodman-Delahunty, Legal Psychology in Australia (1st Edition, Pyrmont: Thomson Reuters Lawbook Co, 2015) available at http://www.thomsonreuters.com.au/legal-psychology-in-australia-ebook/productdetail/122368


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
2018 $3420
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2018 $4860
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
7828 23 Jul 2018 30 Jul 2018 31 Aug 2018 26 Oct 2018 In Person N/A

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