• Offered by ANU Law School
  • ANU College ANU College of Law
  • Course subject Laws
  • Areas of interest Law
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Mode of delivery In Person

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:

  1. to obtain advanced knowledge in this area of interdisciplinary study;
  2. reflect critically on the law’s impact on the psychology of those regulated by law;
  3. plan and execute interdisciplinary research with independence in order to produce original scholarship;
  4. develop technical skills to use psychological literature databases to retrieve empirical psychological research reports;
  5. develop technical skills to understand the basic structure and meaning of scientific report writing used in empirical psychological research;
  6. develop skills to design and write interdisciplinary research projects (case notes and essays/briefing papers/law reform submissions);
  7. enhance cognitive skills and confidence to research, read and critically analyse empirical psychological reports;
  8. enhance cognitive skills and confidence to research, read and critically analyse secondary legal psychological literature that comments on law and legal issues;
  9. 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;
  10. 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;
  11. communicate interdisciplinary critique to a variety of audiences.

Other Information

Classes may be offered in non-standard sessions and be taught on an intensive base with compulsory contact hours (a minimum of 36 hours). Please refer to the LLB timetable for dates. Please contact the ANU College of Law Student Administration Services to request a permission code to enrol in classes offered in non-standard sessions.

Indicative Assessment

  1. a case note OR empirical report comment (2000 words) (40) [LO null]
  2. an online WATTLE quiz on the Focus Readings (10) [LO null]
  3. a research essay (2500 words) (50) [LO null]

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.


Classes offered during semester periods are expected to have 3 contact hours per week (a minimum of 36 hours). Students are generally expected to devote at least 10 hours overall per week to this course.

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must be studying a: Bachelor of Laws (ALLB, BLLBA) and have completed or be completing five 1000 level LAWS courses; OR Juris Doctor (MJD) and have completed or be completing five 1000 or 6100 level LAWS courses. You are not able to enrol in this course if you have previously completed LAWS8460 Law and Psychology.

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
2021 $4170
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2021 $5580
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

There are no current offerings for this course.

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