Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

Criminal Justice (Semester One) LAW3031

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • School: School of Law
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 3 (SCQF level 9)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

This course is a 20-credit course that is designed to be taken over one semester. It will provide a critical examination of particular stages of the criminal justice process from the initial investigation process through to appeals against conviction. It will do so with particular reference United Kingdom jurisdictions (especially Scotland), but will also draw upon the experiences of other jurisdictions and the case law of the European Court of Human Rights.


8 x two-hour seminars

Requirements of Entry

Admission as a visiting law student.

Excluded Courses

Criminal Justice (full-year).




Exam: 1 hour (50% of final grade)

2,000 word written assignment (50% of final grade). This will be an essay question based on a particular seminar of the course.

Main Assessment In: December

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

This course will:


1. Introduce students to the key stages of the criminal justice process in the UK, with particular reference to Scotland.

2. Help students to develop and apply conceptual, critical and analytical skills to the institutional and procedural issues associated with contemporary criminal justice in the UK, with particular reference to Scotland.

3. Assess the role of material from other jurisdictions as a source of understanding and critical analysis of the Scottish experience.

4. Provide opportunities to carry out independent research on topics of contemporary relevance.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:


1. Understand and critically analyse issues arising at all stages of the criminal justice process, from investigation to appeals against conviction.

2. Undertake independent research using a variety of legal and non-legal sources.

3. Exhibit a wide knowledge of both primary and secondary sources in relation to the topics covered.

4. Demonstrate oral communication skills, with a particular focus on presenting knowledge and information to support oral argument.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

  Completion of the summative exam and essay.