Courses & Units

Criminal Law: Principles and Processes LAW229


In the first half of this unit you will examine the criminal justice system in its theoretical, historical, political and social context. This will entail understanding the agencies and processes involved in criminal justice – from initial complaint, police investigation, and prosecution all the way through to sentencing and imprisonment. You will consider limitations of the criminal justice system in dealing with vulnerable groups, including Indigenous Australians, young people, people with mental illnesses, and victims of sexual offences. Students will analyse options for criminal law reform, particularly those in Canada, the United Kingdom and New Zealand.

With this foundation, the unit then introduces you to the fundamental principles of criminal responsibility that govern criminal trials. You will study the detail of particular crimes – including assault, grievous bodily harm, trespass, arson and motor vehicle theft, as well as certain defences, such as intoxication and self defence. Underlying these topics is an analysis of what the criminal law calls mens rea, or the guilty mind, and the principle of coincidence of act and intent. In practical problem-solving exercises you will determine the guilt or innocence of fictitious characters involved in hypothetical scenarios.


Unit name Criminal Law: Principles and Processes
Unit code LAW229
Credit points 12.5
College/School College of Arts, Law and Education
Faculty of Law
Discipline Law
Coordinator Professor Jeremy Prichard|Mr Matias Thomsen
Available as an elective? No
Delivered By University of Tasmania


Location Study period Attendance options Available to
Hobart Semester 1 On-Campus International Domestic


International students
Domestic students

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Key Dates

Study Period Start date Census date WW date End date
Semester 1 20/2/2023 21/3/2023 10/4/2023 28/5/2023

* The Final WW Date is the final date from which you can withdraw from the unit without academic penalty, however you will still incur a financial liability (refer to How do I withdraw from a unit? for more information).

Unit census dates currently displaying for 2023 are indicative and subject to change. Finalised census dates for 2023 will be available from the 1st October 2022. Note census date cutoff is 11.59pm AEST (AEDT during October to March).

About Census Dates

Learning Outcomes

  • Examine and evaluate the principles of criminal law, and the social context in which the criminal law operates
  • Critically appraise the social and international context of criminal laws and develop options for law reform
  • Discuss criminal procedure and the importance of the rights of the defendant, suspect or detainee
  • Recall and summarise legal definitions, the outcomes of court cases, and the facts that need to be proven to establish guilt for different criminal offences
  • Select relevant legal principles and cases and apply them appropriately in problem solving exercises involving hypothetical factual situations
Field of Education Commencing Student Contribution 1,3 Grandfathered Student Contribution 1,3 Approved Pathway Course Student Contribution 2,3 Domestic Full Fee 4
090905 $1,892.00 $1,482.00 not applicable $1,919.00

1 Please refer to more information on student contribution amounts.
2 Please refer to more information on eligibility and Approved Pathway courses.
3 Please refer to more information on eligibility for HECS-HELP.
4 Please refer to more information on eligibility for FEE-HELP.

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Please note: international students should refer to What is an indicative Fee? to get an indicative course cost.



50 credit points of Introductory Law core or (LAW121 and LAW122)


Teaching Pattern

Lecture: 2 hours weekly face-to-face

Seminar: 2 hours fortnightly face-to-face (commencing in Week 2 of semester)

AssessmentAssessment Task 4: Examination (40%)|Assessment Task 1: Essay (30%)|Assessment Task 3: Assignment (20%)|Assessment Task 2: Multiple Choice Test (10%)
TimetableView the lecture timetable | View the full unit timetable



Required readings will be listed in the unit outline prior to the start of classes.

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