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.

Cybercrime Law LAW4136

  • 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

The use of cyberspace has developed rapidly in the past decade. Digital technology has penetrated everyday life. With it, cybercrime has evolved to be one of the major security threats facing governments in the 21st century. Security threats in the online environment are multiple, and stem from negligence from businesses dealing with customer data, to criminals, 'terrorists', and even other governments. States are only beginning to grapple with the technical, legal, and social implications of this new environment, and as internet penetration and internet-connected devices are increasing across the globe, so too is the need for swift international legal coordination and cooperation.

In this module, we will analyse various taxonomies for cybercrime, cyberespionage, cyberterrorism and cyberwarfare. We will consider relevant legal frameworks and analyse how some of the relevant international instruments are transposed in domestic law. The course will have a particular focus on cybercrime, and the law which defines and prohibits it. We will address the intersection between international and domestic legal regimes, because cyberspace - and often with it cybercrime - operates in a sphere beyond state borders. It will offer an understanding of existing international law and an insight into how international law applies to transnational cyber investigations and prosecutions involving multijurisdictional crimes. We explore the challenges and opportunities for such law enforcement endeavours, with an emphasis on international human rights law and jurisdictional rules.

While there is a particular focus on international frameworks and harmonisation efforts (such as the Council of Europe's Cybercrime Convention and within the EU), the nature of the topic demands consideration of how relevant rules apply in practice, and domestic law - particularly in the UK and US - is drawn upon in order to inform analysis.


This is a challenging module with a dynamic and evolving subject matter. Significant emphasis is placed on self-learning, enabling concentration on very specific topics and issues.


Seminars are held weekly and are two hours each in duration

Requirements of Entry


Recommended Public International Law (or equivalent)

Excluded Courses





Each student will be required to produce an essay of 4,000 words during this course. This paper will represent 40% of the final mark for the course. The final assessment shall consist of a two-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 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

The course aims to:

1. Offer an opportunity to explore the threat landscape and some of the security challenges posed with the advent of the Internet and its increasing role in our lives;

2. Examine the various forms of cyberthreats (broadly cybercrime, cyberespionage, cyberterrorism, and cyberwarfare) and applicable taxonomies and laws.

3. Provide a critical understanding of the role of international law in regulating efforts to suppress cybercrime and related phenomena. 

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

1. demonstrate practical and legal awareness of the nature of different cyber threats.

2. demonstrate knowledge and understanding of domestic and international legal frameworks prohibiting cybercrime, cyberterrorism, cyberespionage and cyberwar.

3. construct clear and coherent arguments about cyber threats under international law.

4. evaluate critically international and domestic offences relating to cybercrime, and how international law and human rights law apply to cyber investigations and prosecutions.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.