LAW 7164 - Criminal Law: Selected Issues

North Terrace Campus - Quadmester 4 - 2016

Criminal law evolves constantly. It requires regular review to, for example, ensure the efficacy of laws; reflect changing community values; and cater for advances in technology. This course examines a selection of issues themed around criminal law reform. The course requires students to consider how the Australian criminal law (federal and state) has responded to a range of topical issues; and assess whether existing reforms are justified (from both a philosophical and a pragmatic perspective). The specific list of issue to be explored will be set in June 2016 to ensure current issues can be discussed and evaluated.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code LAW 7164
    Course Criminal Law: Selected Issues
    Coordinating Unit Adelaide Law School
    Term Quadmester 4
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Intensive
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites LAW 7157 or equivalent
    Assessment TBA but likely to include Research Essay 70% 5,500 words max and Seminar Participation and Presentation 30%
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr David Plater

    Course Timetable

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

    The course will be taught intensively over four consecutive days: 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th October 2016. Students are required to attend all classes on each of the days. A complete timetable of all learning activities will be available in due course.
  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    The course aims to develop in students a critical understanding of current problems and issues in criminal law making.

    At the end of the course, students should be able:

    1. To identify and understand the fundamental principles and wider context which underpin the modern criminal law.

    2.To analyse critically and appraise new forms of criminal law and policy in light of this conext and fundamental principles. 

    3. To critically evaluate legal responses to a range of selected topical legal issues.

    4. To consider and criticially examine a topical issue in criminal law and the current law and/or policy in that area and formulate a considered position as to the preferable way forward to address that topical issue.  

    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)
    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
    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
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    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
    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
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Course materials in form of a Study Guide will be supplied in advance of the course. Seven of the Nine course lectures and supporting lecture slides and written material and other online resources will be made available on MyUni. Students should consider these at their own time and pace. Students will be notified of any other suggested readings.
    Recommended Resources
    None (other than the Study Guide which will be available prior to formal commencement of the course on 4 October 2016).

    Students are advised to read various suggested articles and cases which will be forwarded as part of the online material.
    Online Learning
    A Discussion Board will be created in MyUni to enable students enrolled in the course to communicate with one another. Students may use it to engage in general discussion about the themes of the course, or to post questions that they are hoping another student can answer. If a student has a question for one of the course teachers, the student should email that teacher directly.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    There are a total of eight online lectures and two in person live lectures of various lengths and supporting written material and resources that should be viewed and/or listened to and considered by students as part of this course. This course employs various blended teaching delivery formats and self directed and self pacing learning.

    The course lectures will cover:
    1. Professional roles, fair trial, DPP discretion and charge bargaining
    2. Abuse of Process, Trial By Jury and a fair trial by an 'impartial' jury in the modern internet age
    3. The evolution and role of Victim Rights, the Commissioner of Victims' Rights and Lawyers for Victims
    4. Revenge Porn
    5. DPP and Victim interaction and intersection
    6. Disclosure in criminal proceedings
    7. Common Issues and Experience of Victims with Disability
    8. Questioning and Engaging with Vulnerable Clients and Witnesses (AM Thursday 6 Oct) 
    9. Vulnerable Parties in the criminal justice system and the Disability Justice Plan and the Statutes Amendment (Vulnerable Witnesses) Act and issues arising (PM Thursday 6th Oct)

    Lectures 1 to 7 above and supporting lectures slides and written material will be available online.

    Class Discussion and Student Presentations (Date TBA)
    Lectures 8 and 9 will be delivered live and in person (though for students living interstate alternative online viewing and presence will be attempted.)
    Students in this course are expected to view the online lectures and supporting written material (all available on line) that will cover the bulk of the course. There are about 24 hours of lectures and classes. Students need only attend in person the two classes on Thursday 6 October 2016.

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

    As this course is run intensively, student workload is also ‘intensive’ for the contact days. Students will be expected to read the required ‘readings’ before attending lectures. The readings will be provided for in the Study Guide. In addition, students will need to be familiar with topics covered in the interactive seminars to be able to engage in a meaningful way. Each student will also be expected to give an individual presentation in an allocated time slot in one of the seminar sessions. (Times will be allocated on the first day of the course.) As such, students will need to devote time to self-directed learning to ensure they are able to present competently.
    Learning Activities Summary
    A summary of the specific learning activities will be made available prior to the commencement of the course once topics have been confirmed.
    Specific Course Requirements
  • 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 item    % of final mark    Due date       Group or Individual                         Redeemable               Learning objectives
    1. Student presentation 30%                 In class (TBA)          Individual                                         No                                1,2,3
    2. Research Essay          70                   28/10/16 at 5pm        Individual                                           No                                1,2,3
    Assessment Related Requirements
    See Assessment Detail below.
    Assessment Detail
    Student Presentation 30%

    This assessment requires each student to give a 10-15 (15 is the maximum length but students can speak for less) minute class verbal presentation (with a further 5 minutes for questions) on one of two topics frm the course, either revenge pornography or the modern right to a fair trial before an impartial jury in light of the internet and social media. Students can select either area to speak upon.
    All topics will be covered in the prerecorded lectures and supporting written material that are avilable online before and during the course. The student Presentations will be heard on PM Thursday 6 October 2016.  

    The grade for this assessment item will be awarded based on three main criteria:
    1. Content: knowledge of the relevant law; quality of arguments presented; adequacy of sources, cogency of any conclusions.
    2. Oral delivery: speaking style and delivery, competency of communications skills.
    3. Visual material: how well materials such as powerpoint presentation, overheads, handouts are utilised.

    Students should prove a one page written overview of their presentation to be circulated before their presentation. The 30% will be divided into 20% for the actual presentation, 5% for their written overview and 5% for answering questions.   

    Research Essay 70%

    The essay topic is broad. It will consider the role of the victim in the modern criminal justice system and and how should (or should not) the role of the modern victim be recognised and reflected in the criminal justice system and the reasons for your conclusion.

    Students will be assessed based on their knowledge of the relevant law and/or policy; level of research skills; level of innovative thought; depth of legal analysis and critical examination of the issues raised, structure, expression, consistent and cogent reasoning, the strenth of their conclusions; level of written skills and correct referencing.

    The research essay must:
    • Conform to the Australian Guide to Legal Citation (copies are available at the Library’s reserve desk – an electronic copy can be consulted at;
    • Conform to the Word Limit Policy. Words in excess of the word limit will not be read. Students must indicate the word count of each assignment on the front cover of their assignment sheet. Note that substantive footnotes will be included in the word count.
    • Conform to the Late Submission Policy. Essays handed in after the due date will not be read or graded. Extensions are only available on medical or compassionate grounds (see below).
    • Not have been previously submitted for any other course without prior approval from the course co-ordinator.
    • Be adequately referenced. (A reduction of 5 percent may apply for inadequate referencing.)
    • Be footnoted (excessive US style footnotes with lengthy text will be included in the word count)
    • Be double-spaced
    • Have a bibliography appropriate for the topic

    These requirements are non-negotiable.

    Essays can be up to 4000 words (students should not feel obliged to use all 4000 words, brevity and conciseness can be a strength). Reasonable (not lengthy US style footnotes) and the bibliography don't count to the word limit.

    More detail will be provided about the content and expectations of the legal research essay.  

    Essays will be graded as follows:

    Fail 0-49
    Does not address the question
    Does not develop coherent and rational arguments
    Demonstrates fundamental errors of understanding of key legal principles and concepts
    Minimal evidence of research to support argument
    Absence of legal analysis
    Demonstrates limited analytical and evaluative skills
    Poor and and inadequately considered and argued conclusion

    Pass 50-64%
    Adequate articulation of argument
    Demonstrates a basic understanding and application of analytic concepts and theoretical concepts
    Minimal adherence to citation style
    Adequate relevant research informing the argument
    Basic understanding of that reading
    Insufficient legal analysis
    Adequate skills in written expression and presentation
    Conclusion shows some but undeveloped consideration 

    Credit 65-74
    Demonstrates a high level of understanding of the relevant legal materials
    Shows a thorough understanding of relevant legal materials
    Demonstrates some critical legal thinking and evaluative skills
    Adequate legal analysis
    Adequate skills in written expression and presentation
    Cogent and considered conclusion

    Distinction 75-84
    High standard of understanding of the relevant legal materials with some original and sophisticated perspectives
    High level of insight and legal analysis
    Broad ranging legal research skills
    Evidence of high level of critical legal thinking
    Well-developed analytical and evaluative skills
    Developed skills in written expression and presentation
    Strong and well considered conclusion

    High Distinction 85-100

    Outstanding level of understanding and interpretation
    Compelling, well-supported and tightly structured legal arguments
    Broad ranging research and original and sophisticated thinking
    Highly developed written communication skills
    Very compelling concusion highlighting outstanding consideration
    Students must retain a copy of all assignments submitted.
    All assignments in this course are to be submitted in electronically via the MyUni site for this course.
    All assignments must include a signed acknowledgement of the University’s policy on plagiarism (refer to policy on plagiarism above).
    A penalty of 5% may apply for each day that an assignment is overdue. A penalty of 5% may apply for every 500 words (or part thereof) by which assignments exceed the maximum word length.
    All written work in the Law school is required to comply with the approved Law School style guide, The Australian Guide to Legal Citation.
    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.

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

  • 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 ( 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.

    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.

    For more information please check out the Writing Centre website at  

    Lex Salus Program

    Lex Salus was founded in 2013 by Adelaide Law School Wellbeing officers Ms Corinne Walding, Ms Kellie Toole and Dr Mark Giancaspro and . Lex Salus is an initiative of the Adelaide Law School aimed at raising law student awareness of the importance of mental, physical and nutritional health across all year levels of the degree, and of the various counselling, disability and equity services both within and outside the University that can provide help. Research shows that law students, both in Australia and in many jurisdictions around the world, experience the highest levels of stress, anxiety and depression out of any other discipline. Many do not get enough sleep, maintain a healthy diet or achieve a realistic work/life balance. Making matters worse, they are unwilling or afraid to speak up for fear of feeling 'weak' or because of the negative stigma that attaches to seeking help. Lex Salus is dedicated to tackling these problems head-on.

    Counselling Service

    The University Counselling Service provides a free and confidential service to all enrolled students. We encourage you to contact the Counselling service on 8313 5663 to make an appointment to deal with any issues that may be affecting your study and life. More information is available at
  • Policies & Guidelines

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

    Plagiarism and other forms of cheating

    Plagiarism is a serious act of academic misconduct. All students must be familiar with the Adelaide Law School Enrolment Guide, and should note in particular the sections relating to plagiarism, grievance procedures and academic conduct within the Law School and the University.

    Plagiarism is a serious matter and is treated as such by the Law School and the University. Please be aware that “academic dishonesty” (which goes beyond plagiarism) can be a ground for a refusal by the Supreme Court of South Australia to refuse 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.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.