Aberystwyth University GDL

Aberystwyth University

Aberystwyth University GDL


Module Identifier
Module Title
Criminal Law for GDL Students
Academic Year
Semester 2 (Taught over 2 semesters)
LP30105, LP30220, LP30420, LP30520, LP30620, LP30720, LP30820, LP30920
Exclusive (Any Acad Year)
Exclusive (Any Acad Year)
Reading List
Other Staff

Course Delivery


Assessment TypeAssessment length / detailsProportion
Semester AssessmentEssay  of 1,000 words20%
Semester Exam2 Hours   Exam80%
Supplementary AssessmentEssay  if element failed20%
Supplementary Exam2 Hours   Exam  if element failed80%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Evaluate and analyse critically the scope and purpose of the criminal law, with reference to historical development, current problems and the possibilities for reform;
2. Identify and explain the fundamental principles of criminal law and critically analyse their relevance and application;
3. Identify and analyse the elements forming the basis of criminal liability, namely the conduct element and the mental element;
4. Identify and explain the relevant constitutive elements of major offences and defences and be able to apply them to factual situations in order to solve problems;
5. Construct convincing and cogent arguments on the basis of relevant law and available evidence.

In so doing students will develop the following skills:
A. Reading and comprehension of cases and other legal texts;
B. Written and oral expression;
C. Critical and contextual analysis;
D. Interpretation and application of legal rules.


1. The Nature of Criminal Law
(The meaning and scope of crime; The role of Criminal Law in society; Fundamental principles of criminal law)2. Elements of a Criminal Offence
(Actus Reus (Commission and omission; State of affairs offences; Conduct and result crimes; Causation; Voluntariness and automatism); Mens Rea (Different forms of mens rea; Intention; Foresight; Recklessness (Cunningham and Caldwell distinguished); Crimes of Strict Liability; Negligence)