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 Law: Theory and Doctrine LAW4010

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • School: School of Law
  • Credits: 30
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Runs Throughout Semesters 1 and 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

Criminal Law: History & Theory


2 hour weekly seminar - Thursday 1300-1500, held weekly in terms 1 and 2.

Requirements of Entry

A pass mark in Criminal Law and Evidence. Places on the course will, however, be allocated based on academic merit. This course is only available to LL.B students.


Each student will be required to produce an essay of 5,000 words during this course. This paper will represent 40% of the final mark for the course. The final assessment shall consist of a three-hour unseen examination. The final examination will count for the other 60% of the assessment.

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable

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

The aims of the course are: (1) to analyse patterns of liability in the development of particular crimes; (2) to understand a range of different theoretical approaches to understanding the criminal law and its historical development; (3) to analyse critically the institutional and theoretical development of Scots criminal law; (4) to develop an understanding of a range of comparative materials on criminal law.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course, the student should: (1) be familiar with a range of theoretical and historical approaches to the criminal law; (2) be capable of critical evaluation of these approaches; (3) be able to analyse primary and secondary sources on the cirminal law in the light of these approaches; and (4) be able to develop and articulate their own understanding of the merits of these approaches.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits