LAW 3520 - Sentencing and Criminal Justice

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2019

Sentencing is the process by which criminal penalties are imposed on an individual found guilty of a criminal offence. The type and severity of penalties available for imposition involve significant value judgments. The course will cover sentencing theory; the history of Australian corrections law and policy; distinguishing between the factors relevant to determining guilt and those relevant to sentencing; current South Australian sentencing legislation, and the law and order policy informing it. It may include guest presenters and field trips. A selection of additional topics, determined in consultation with students, will be drawn from areas such as mandatory vs discretionary sentencing; plea 'bargaining'; the role of the victim in the criminal justice system and sentencing; therapeutic and restorative justice; principles for sentencing Aboriginal offenders; principles for sentencing juvenile offenders; international comparisons including the death penalty; media representations and reporting; sentencing and criminology theories; control orders and preventative detention.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code LAW 3520
    Course Sentencing and Criminal Justice
    Coordinating Unit Adelaide Law School
    Term Semester 2
    Level Undergraduate Law (LLB)
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites LAW 2503
    Incompatible LAW 2009
    Course Description Sentencing is the process by which criminal penalties are imposed on an individual found guilty of a criminal offence. The type and severity of penalties available for imposition involve significant value judgments. The course will cover sentencing theory; the history of Australian corrections law and policy; distinguishing between the factors relevant to determining guilt and those relevant to sentencing; current South Australian sentencing legislation, and the law and order policy informing it. It may include guest presenters and field trips.
    A selection of additional topics, determined in consultation with students, will be drawn from areas such as mandatory vs discretionary sentencing; plea 'bargaining'; the role of the victim in the criminal justice system and sentencing; therapeutic and restorative justice; principles for sentencing Aboriginal offenders; principles for sentencing juvenile offenders; international comparisons including the death penalty; media representations and reporting; sentencing and criminology theories; control orders and preventative detention.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Ms Kellie Toole

    Sentencing is the process by which criminal penalties are imposed on an individual found guilty of a criminal offence. The type and severity of penalties available for imposition involve significant value judgments. The course will cover topics such as sentencing theory; the history of Australian corrections law and policy; distinguishing between the factors relevant to determining guilt and those relevant to sentencing; current South Australian sentencing legislation, and the law and order policy informing it. It will include guest presenters.
    A selection of additional topics, determined in consultation with students, will be drawn from areas such as mandatory vs discretionary sentencing; plea 'bargaining'; the role of the victim in the criminal justice system and sentencing; therapeutic and restorative justice; principles for sentencing Aboriginal offenders; principles for sentencing juvenile offenders; international comparisons including the death penalty; media representations and reporting; sentencing and criminology theories; control orders and preventative detention.

    However, the course is not (just) about legislation, policy and theory. It is primarily about the various people and institutions that are involved in sentencing. This includes criminal defendants, journalists who report on sentencing, community members who are affected by crime, politicians who review sentencing law, public servants who draft laws, prosecutors and defence lawyers who make sentencing submissions on behalf of the Crown or defendants, psychologists and psychiatrists who assessment defendants and advise on sentences, and corrections officers who oversee people sentenced to prison or community service. We will hear from or consider the perspective of as many of these people as possible. Some of you will become of the people in these roles, or work with some of them. All of you, as lawyers, politicians or just legally trained people need to be aware of the roles and issues that they raise.

    The final details of the curriculum and assessment of Sentencing and Criminal Justice will be finalised through consultation with students. 

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

    Neither lectures nor seminars will be compulsory, but students are encouraged to attend as much contact time as possible to maximise their own learning and to support the learning of other students. Lectures will generally be recorded, subject to technology and the preferences of guest lecturers.
  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    On successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
    1. Analyse sentencing principles, undertake self-directed legal research using primary and secondary materials, and analyse and evaluate legal information relating to the theory and practice of sentencing and criminal justice.
    2. Apply sentencing principles to complex legal problems, and critique their operation from both a policy and theoretical perspective.
    3. Prepare persuasive written and oral arguments for a legal and lay audience on issues relating to the application of sentencing principles to the type of cases and scenarios that arise in criminal practice.
    4. Demonstrate awareness of principles of ethical professional judgment in the conduct of sentencing submissions, from both a prosecution and defence perspective.
    5. Analyse the impact of sentencing law from a policy perspective, with a focus on the impact of the law on those people who are vulnerable or outside mainstream culture, and advocating evidence-based law reform.
    6. Reflect on individual capacity to complete self-directed tasks and to work effectively in teams. Extend their skills by utilising feedback and reflection to drive personal improvement.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    1, 2, 3
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    1, 2, 3, 5
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    6
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    3, 4
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • Able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    5
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
    5
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Students will require a copy of the Sentencing Act 2017 (SA).

    Recommended Resources
    A reading list will be available on MyUni when the final topics have been determined in consultation with students.

    The following website provide useful information on sentencing in South Australia:

    Legal Services Commission, Law Handbook Online, http://www.lawhandbook.sa.gov.au/
    Court's Administation Authority, Sentencing Remarks, http://www.courts.sa.gov.au/Pages/default.aspx
    Sentencing Advisory Council of South Australia, https://www.agd.sa.gov.au/about-us/boards-and-committees/sentencing-advisory-council-sa 
    Australian Institute of Criminology, Sentencing, http://www.aic.gov.au/criminal_justice_system/courts/sentencing.html
    Online Learning
    Online Communication

    The MyUni Discussion Board will be activated by the start of teaching and will be available throughout the semester. All questions relating to substantive course content and assessment should be posted on the Discussion Board, rather than emailed to staff. Guidelines on communication, including the use of the Discussion Board, will be posted on MyUni.

    Students are expected to check MyUni regularly to keep up to date with announcements during the semester.

    Online Learning

    Lectures will generally be recorded and available on MyUni shortly after the lecture has been delivered. Powerpoint lecture slides will be posted on MyUni before or after the lecture, as appropriate. Some guest lectures will not be recorded at the request of the guest. Where possible, students will be notified in advance if a lecture is not going to be recorded. However, sometimes guests will only decide at the beginning of the lecture that they prefer not to be recorded.


    Written assignments must be submitted online through the Turnitin text-matching software program designed to assist with the detection of plagiarism and other forms of cheating. The problem-based assignment will be marked online and feedback will be available through MyUni.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    The course consists of a two hour 'lecture' every week, between weeks 1 and 12 and a two hour 'seminar' every second week starting in week 2. Only the lecture will be recorded. In reality both teaching activities will involve a relatively informal combination of student and staff contributions and interactions with guest presenters. 

    Given that attendance at lectures and seminars is not compulsory, students who choose to attend are expected to complete the required reading in advance of the classes and be prepared to participate in the classes.

    Powerpoint lecture slides will be placed on MyUni either before or after the lecture or seminar, as appropriate.
    Workload

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.
    In taking this course students are expected to attend 24 hours of lectures and 12 hours of seminars. To get the most from this course and be able to produce written work and oral contributions of a high quality, it is essential that students spend 6-7 hours per week doing the readings, taking notes, thinking about the issues, and preparing questions, answers and discussion points for seminars.
    Learning Activities Summary
    The final learning activities will be determined in consultation with students. 

    Topic 1: sentencing principles and theory
    Topic 2: South Australian legislative and policy regime including 2017 reforms

    Indicative topics on selected issues in sentencing:

    mandatory vs discretionary sentencing;
    plea 'bargaining';
    the role of the victim in the criminal justice system and sentencing;
    therapeutic and restorative justice;
    principles for sentencing Aboriginal offenders;
    principles for sentencing juvenile offenders;
    international comparisons including the death penalty;
    media representations and reporting;
    sentencing and criminology theories;
    control orders and preventative detention.

    Specific Course Requirements
    There are no additional requirements for completion of this course other than described elsewhere in this document.

    None of the assessment tasks are threshold tests i.e. students are able to pass the course overall even if they fail one or more assessment tasks as long as their overall grade is 50% or greater.

    Participation in the co-creation process will have no bearing on the assessent of the course. Students will not be disadvantaged by not participating.
    Small Group Discovery Experience
    There is no small group discovery experience as part of this course.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Task Type Due Weighting Redeemable Length Learning Outcome
    Critical analysis exercise Individual

    Friday 2pm week 6

    20% No 1500 words 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
    Sentencing advocacy exercise Group Seminar week 12 30% No 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
    Research assignment Individual Friday week 12 50% No 3000 words 1, 2, 3
    Assessment Detail

    Critical analysis assignment 20% Compulsory, Not redeemable (1,500 words)

    Each student will be required to complete an exercise in critical analysis of a sentencing submission, or decision and to analyse and critique the reasoning of the judge(s) in the light of sentencing principles.

    A pass in the critical analysis assignment is not a prerequisite for passing Sentencing and Criminal Justice.

    Group sentencing advocacy exercise 30%, Compulsory, Not redeemable (10 minutes per group of 4)

    Each student will be required to participate in a group sentencing advocacy exercise in class that requires understanding of penalty options, and sentencing criteria, and the ability to apply them to a particular fact scenario. Participation will involve some combination of research, preparation of submissions, oral submissions and completion of a written report. Not every student needs to play the role of advocate and actually make oral submissions.

    A pass in the group advocacy exercise is not a prerequisite for passing Sentencing and Criminal Justice.

    Research asignment 50% Compulsory, Not redeemable (3,000 words)

    Each student will be required to complete a research assignment in the form of a law reform submission, essay or similar.

    A pass in the research assignment is not a prerequisite for passing Sentencing and Criminal Justice.
    Submission
    Students will be provided with submission instructions as part of the assessment instructions for each item of assessment which will be made available on MyUni.

    Late Submission of Assignments: 5% of the total mark possible will be deducted for every 24 hours or part thereof that it is late, including each day on a weekend. For example, an essay that is submitted after the due date and time but within the first 24 hour period, and that has been graded at 63%, will have 5% deducted, for a final grade of 58%. An essay that is more than 24 hours late will lose 10%, etc. Hard copy submissions made after 5.00pm on a Friday will be assumed to have been submitted on the next business day and will be penalised accordingly.

    Word Length: Assignments which exceed the allocated length (word length or page limit) will be subject to a penalty of 5% of total marks possible per 100 words or part thereof (ie with a word limit of 3,000, an essay graded 63% will have 5% deducted if it is 3001 words long, for a final grade of 58%, 10% if it is 3101 words long, etc). Words are calculated including all footnotes and headings within the text but excluding cover page information. Quotations and all referencing information are included in the word count.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Courses for which a result of conceded pass has been obtained may not be presented towards the degree requirements for the Bachelor of Laws or the Honours Degree of Bachelor of Laws programs, or any postgraduate law program, nor to satisfy prerequisite requirements within any law course.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

    Finality of Assessment Grades

    Students are advised that Course Coordinators will not enter into negotiations of any kind with any student regarding changes to their grades. It is irrelevant, in any given circumstance, that only a minimal number of additional marks are required to inflate a student’s grade for any individual assessment item or course as a whole. Pursuant to the University’s Assessment for Coursework Programs Policyand the Adelaide Law School Assessment Policies and Procedures, grades may only be varied through the appropriate channels for academic review (such as an official re-mark).

    Moderation
    In accordance with the University’s Assessment for Coursework Programs Policy, course coordinators ‘ensure that appropriate marking guidelines and cross-marking moderation processes across markers are in place’ in each course. Procedures adopted by Adelaide Law School to ensure consistency of marking in courses with multiple markers include:
    • assurance of the qualifications of markers, and their knowledge of the content covered in each course;
    • detailed marking guidelines and assessment rubrics to assist in the marking of items of assessment;
    • sharing of example marked assessments at various grade bands across markers;
    • reviewing of selected marked assessments from each marker by the course coordinator;
    • comparison of the marks and their distribution across markers;
    • automatic double-marking of all interim assessment receiving a fail grade, and of final assessments where a student’s overall result is a fail grade;
    • the availability of re-marking of assessments in accordance with Adelaide Law School’s Assessment Policies and Procedures.

    Approval of Results by Board of Examiners
    Students are reminded that all assessment results are subject to approval (and possible moderation/change) by the Law School’s Board of Examiners. Assessment results at the University are not scaled. Under the Assessment for Coursework Programs Policy, students are assessed ‘by reference to their performance against pre-determined criteria and standards … and not by ranking against the performance of the student cohort in the course’. However, under that same policy, the Board of Examiners (as the relevant Assessment Review Committee for courses at Adelaide Law School) is required to ‘ensure comparability of standards and consistency’ in assessment. On occasions, the Board of Examiners will form the view that some moderation is required to ensure the comparability of standards and consistency across courses and years, and accordingly provide fairness to all law students. All assessment results are therefore subject to approval (and possible change) until confirmed by the Board of Examiners and posted on Access Adelaide at the end of each semester.
  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
    The University Writing Centre provides academic learning and language development services and resources for local, international, undergraduate and postgraduate coursework students enrolled at the University of Adelaide.

    The centre offers practical advice and strategies for students to master reading, writing, note-taking, time management, oral presentation skills, referencing techniques and exam preparation for success at university through seminars, workshops and individual consultations.

    Lex Salus Program
    Lex Salus (law and wellbeing) is an initiative of the Adelaide Law School aimed at destigmatising mental health issues; promoting physical, mental and emotional wellness; building a strong community of staff and students; and celebrating diversity within the school. It also seeks to promote wellness within the legal profession, through the involvement of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of South Australia, the Honourable Chris Kourakis, as the official Patron of the program.

    Students can participate in the Lex Salus program by attending barbecue lunches, pancake breakfasts, knitting and crochet circles, seminars, guest speakers, conferences and other activities. Our Facebook page, website and regular all-student emails promote upcoming events, and have tips and information on wellness.

    Our Lex Salus YouTube channel also includes videos on topics like managing stress, and interviews with LGBTQ lawyers and their supporters which celebrate diversity and individuality. Students who commit to 10 hours of volunteering with Lex Salus in one year can have their service recognised on their academic transcript and through a thank you morning tea with the Chief Justice and law school staff.

    Student Life Counselling Support
    The University’s Student Life Counselling Support service provides free and confidential service to all enrolled students. We encourage you to contact the Student Life Counselling Support service on 8313 5663 to make an appointment to deal with any issues that may be affecting your study and life.
  • Policies & Guidelines

    This section contains links to relevant assessment-related policies and guidelines - all university policies.

    Academic Honesty
    Academic dishonesty is a serious act of academic misconduct. All students must be familiar with the University’s Academic Honesty Policy.

    Academic dishonesty is a serious matter and is treated as such by the Law School and the University. Academic dishonesty (which goes beyond plagiarism) can be a ground for a refusal by the Supreme Court of South Australia to admit a person to practice as a legal practitioner in South Australia.

    Academic honesty is an essential aspect of ethical and honest behaviour, which is central to the practice of the law and an understanding of what it is to be a lawyer.
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

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