• Class Number 2912
  • Term Code 3030
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Gregor Urbas
    • AsPr Anthony Hopkins
    • Dr Wendy Kukulies-Smith
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 24/02/2020
  • Class End Date 05/06/2020
  • Census Date 08/05/2020
  • Last Date to Enrol 02/03/2020
SELT Survey Results

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:

  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.

Research-Led Teaching

Criminal law is a dynamic and constantly changing area of the law. Research in this field cuts across disciplines and includes research in psychology, sociology, criminology, race theory, feminist theory, legal history. In this course we look not only at the basic concepts of criminal responsibility and core offences and defences but we also explore the political influences upon the law and explore topical social and legal debates occurring within the field of criminal law. Lecturers in this course will bring their research findings and expertise in this diverse field of law into the classroom. The prescribed text, Bronitt and McSherry, Principles of Criminal Law (4th ed, Pyrmont: Lawbook Co, 2017) has been specifically chosen as it accommodates a wider framework for the study of Criminal Law and Procedure.

Required Resources

S Bronitt and B McSherry, Principles of Criminal Law (4th Edition, Pyrmont: Lawbook Co, 2017).

RN Howie and PA Johnson, Annotated Criminal Legislation New South Wales, 2019-2020 edition

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • written comments
  • verbal comments
  • feedback to the whole class, to groups, to individuals, focus groups

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Other Information

Extensions late submission and penalties - https://law.anu.edu.au/current-students/policies-procedures/extensions-late-submission-and-penalties

Deferred examination: http://www.anu.edu.au/students/program-administration/assessments-exams/deferred-examinations

Special consideration: http://www.anu.edu.au/students/program-administration/assessments-exams/special-assessment-consideration

Penalties for excess word length: https://law.anu.edu.au/current-students/policies-procedures/word-length-and-excess-word-penalties

Distribution of Grades Policy: Effective from Winter Session and Second Semester 2018 (and until further notice), the current Grading Distribution Policy has been suspended pending the development of a new policy. For further information about the interim policy please see: https://law.anu.edu.au/current-students/policies-procedures/grading

Further Information about the Course: is available from the course WATTLE page. Students are required to access the WATTLE site regularly throughout the course for details on weekly classes and any announcements and updates relating to the course.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 3 hours lectures: Course Introduction; Definitions of Crime and Aims of the Criminal Law; Indigenous People and the Criminal Justice System Tutorial enrolment closes on WATTLE 12 noon Thurs 27 Feb No tutorial
2 3 hours lectures: Elements of Crime; Strict and Absolute Liability. The Relationship between Criminal Law and Procedure; Selected Principles and Aspects of Criminal Procedure No tutorial
3 2 hours lecture: Selected Principles and Aspects of Criminal Procedure 1 hour tutorial: Introductory tutorial Each student will join a group for one tutorial during the semester, student will be assigned the week when they will lead the tutorial.
4 2 hours lecture: Murder 1 hour tutorial: Strict and Absolute Liability Quiz released 12 noon Tues 17 March (wk 4) and closes 5pm Monday 23 March 2020 (wk5). Each student will join a group for one tutorial during the semester and lead the first 15 minutes of the tutorial with issue spotting and basic HIRAC reasoning before that attempt will be refined and discussed.
5 2 hours lecture: Manslaughter Offences 1 hour tutorial: Murder Each student will join a group for one tutorial during the semester and lead the first 15 minutes of the tutorial with issue spotting and basic HIRAC reasoning before that attempt will be refined and discussed.
6 2 hours lecture: Assault Offences 1 hour tutorial: Manslaughter Each student will join a group for one tutorial during the semester and lead the first 15 minutes of the tutorial with issue spotting and basic HIRAC reasoning before that attempt will be refined and discussed.
7 2 hours lecture: Complicity 1 hour tutorial: Assault Offences Each student will join a group for one tutorial during the semester and lead the first 15 minutes of the tutorial with issue spotting and basic HIRAC reasoning before that attempt will be refined and discussed.
8 2 hours lecture: Sexual Assault Offences 1 hour tutorial: Complicity Each student will join a group for one tutorial during the semester and lead the first 15 minutes of the tutorial with issue spotting and basic HIRAC reasoning before that attempt will be refined and discussed.
9 2 hours lecture: Defences I 1 hour tutorial: Sexual Assault Offences Each student will join a group for one tutorial during the semester and lead the first 15 minutes of the tutorial with issue spotting and basic HIRAC reasoning before that attempt will be refined and discussed.
10 2 hours lecture: Defences II 1 hour tutorial: Exam advice & preparation tutorial Each student will join a group for one tutorial during the semester and lead the first 15 minutes of the tutorial with issue spotting and basic HIRAC reasoning before that attempt will be refined and discussed.
11 2 hours lecture: Code Jurisdiction; Selected Property Offences (ACT) 1 hour tutorial: Defences Each student will join a group for one tutorial during the semester and lead the first 15 minutes of the tutorial with issue spotting and basic HIRAC reasoning before that attempt will be refined and discussed.
12 2 hours lecture: Selected Property Offences (ACT) 1 hour tutorial: Property Offences Each student will join a group for one tutorial during the semester and lead the first 15 minutes of the tutorial with issue spotting and basic HIRAC reasoning before that attempt will be refined and discussed.

Tutorial Registration

You must enrol in a tutorial group via the WATTLE website. Tutorial enrolment will be available online on WATTLE from 12 noon Monday 10 February 2020. Tutorial enrolment will remain open until 12 noon on Thursday 27 February 2020 (Week 1). The onus is on you to get yourself sorted during that period. You can swap in and out of groups while enrolment is open but be aware that spots in some tutorials may go quickly.

If you have not enrolled in a tutorial group by 12 noon on Thursday 27 February you will need to contact the Convenor to be manually placed in a tutorial group. Your class options will be very limited at this point and you will be offered a spot in a tutorial group which is not yet full. For the duration of the course, you are not permitted to attend a tutorial group which you are not formally enrolled in.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
WATTLE Quiz 30 % 30/03/2020 06/04/2020 1, 5, 6, 10
Take-home Examination 70 % 11/06/2020 09/07/2020 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 10, 11

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using 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. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website. In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


There is no assessment for participation in this course.


Please note that there is an exam in this course. The date in the assessment summary is indicative only. Students should rely on the date and time published through the Examinations timetable.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 30/03/2020
Return of Assessment: 06/04/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1, 5, 6, 10


Details of task: WATTLE Quiz to test knowledge acquired in weeks 1-3 of the Course including criminal procedural law (all material taught in weeks 1-3 is examinable). This quiz will consist of a 10 questions randomly generated from a bank of questions: Multiple choice or True/False (7 questions) and short answer (3 questions). The quiz questions will require students to engage closely with the technical aspects of the law relating to criminal procedure, will test knowledge of statutory provisions and case law, principles of criminal responsibility, strict and absolute liability and general concepts within the Australian Criminal Justice System. The short answer questions may ask for short critical comments but also will allow students to demonstrate their knowledge of the relevant law.

Nature of Task: Compulsory and NOT redeemable. The consequence of non-completion of this assessment task is a 0 mark for this assessment task.

Weighting: 30%

Release of quiz questions: 12 noon Thursday 19 March 2020 via WATTLE.

Due date: 5pm Monday 30 March 2020 via WATTLE. Late submission without an extension is permitted however penalties will apply.

Duration: 30 minutes. Once the WATTLE Quiz period opens students can login at any time within the assessment window and complete the quiz. Each student will have 30

mins once logged on to complete the quiz and all questions will appear in one scrollable window. Note that each student can access the quiz only once and for a maximum period of 30 minutes.

Estimated return date:  A score out of 10 will be available on WATTLE from 12 noon on Monday 6 April 2020.

Assessment Criteria: This assessment task will not be supported by a marking rubric. The quiz is designed to enhance student competence in the following skills: statutory interpretation (especially elements analysis), legal problem-solving, critical and analytical thinking, creative thinking, legal argument, working independently. Each student will be marked as correct or incorrect for each of the 10 questions answered during the duration of the WATTLE Quiz.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 70 %
Due Date: 11/06/2020
Return of Assessment: 09/07/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 10, 11

Take-home Examination

Details of task: There will be a final exam consisting of two problem questions at the end of the course. The final exam covers everything in the course except criminal procedure will not be re-examined.

Nature of Task: Compulsory. The consequence of non- completion of this assessment task is a mark of 0 for this assessment task.

Weighting: 70%

Timing: During the final examination period via Turnitin. Please note, that the dates used in the Assessment Summary in relation to exams indicate approximate time frames. The date and time of the Take-home Examination will be announced on WATTLE when the ANU final examination timetable is released.

Duration:  Exam will be available for 2.5 hours. It is expected that you spend 15 minutes reading time and 2 hours writing time. Students are expected to stop writing at the conclusion of the exam (2 hrs 15 mins) and upload their examination. An additional window of 15 minutes has been provided to accommodate upload of the completed examination.

Estimated return date:  After final results are released. Feedback will be available via Turnitin on WATTLE.

Assessment Criteria for the Problem Question:

  1. Organisation of answer, particularly re logical organisation and sound HIRAC methodology (taking account of exam conditions);
  2. Economy of answer (taking account of exam conditions);
  3. Identification of issues and discussion and application of relevant legal principles (taking account of exam conditions);
  4. Formulation of relevant legal arguments (taking account of exam conditions);
  5. Clarity and expression including use of legal terminology, spelling etc (taking account of exam conditions).

This assessment task will be supported by the use of an exam problem question assessment rubric. The rubric will be available to students on WATTLE (released in O-week).

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically, committing to honest and responsible scholarly practice and upholding these values with respect and fairness.

The ANU commits to assisting all members of our community to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle and Academic Misconduct Rule, uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with.

The Academic Misconduct Rule is in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Very minor breaches of the academic integrity principle may result in a reduction of marks of up to 10% of the total marks available for the assessment. The ANU offers a number of online and in person services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. Visit the Academic Skills website for more information about academic integrity, your responsibilities and for assistance with your assignments, writing skills and study.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Individual assessment tasks may or may not allow for late submission. Policy regarding late submission is detailed below:

  • Late submission not permitted. If submission of assessment tasks without an extension after the due date is not permitted, a mark of 0 will be awarded.
  • Late submission permitted. Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations or invigilated exams.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. Extensions may be granted for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

Dr Gregor Urbas

Research Interests

Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Sentencing, Statutory Interpretation, Australian Legal History, Legal Theory

Dr Gregor Urbas

Thursday 11:00 12:00
AsPr Anthony Hopkins
02 6125 4066

Research Interests

AsPr Anthony Hopkins

Dr Wendy Kukulies-Smith
02 6125 7790

Research Interests

Dr Wendy Kukulies-Smith

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions