Module Catalogue 2022/23

LAW3013 : Criminology and Criminal Justice

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Miss Jenny Johnstone
  • Lecturer: Professor Richard Collier
  • Owning School: Newcastle Law School
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



Criminology and Criminal Justice is a module covering the criminal justice and policy with particular reference to England and Wales. It will foster critical understanding and evaluation of criminal justice processes locally, nationally and internationally. The course will seek to address some of the current issues and debates surrounding criminal justice.

1. To introduce students to criminological theory and the criminal justice process, policy and theoretical debates.

2. To develop and apply the conceptual, critical and analytical skills to the institutional and procedural issues associated with contemporary Criminal Justice.

3. To develop a critical understanding and evaluation of the areas of debates within criminal justice.

4. To assess the role of material from other jurisdictions as a source of understanding and criticism of the UK experience.

5. To carry out independent research on a topic of contemporary relevance.

Outline Of Syllabus

Block 1: Contemporary Theoretical debates in criminology

Block 2: Evaluating Criminal Justice: including - Policing; Prosecution; Court and Trial Process (Criminal Trial); Sentencing (Custody/Community/Sport and diversionary strategies)

Block 3: Contemporary issues in criminology and criminal justice (to be confirmed year by year - including youth justice, restorative justice, victims of crime, gender and crime, equality and criminal justice).

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

The general learning outcomes of the course will be as follows:

1) Students should be able to evaluate critically criminological theory and criminal justice process and policy.

2) Students should be able to understand and critique issues in the function of the criminal justice system in England and Wales

3) Students should have a critical awareness of major contemporary issues in criminological and criminal justice theory, practice and policy.

4) Students should exhibit a wide knowledge of both primary and secondary sources in relation to the topics covered

Intended Skill Outcomes

Subject specific skills

Ability to write and speak with care and precision in the analysis and synthesis of the law;
Ability to structure argument and analysis; and
Ability to identify issues for research and to retrieve accurate and relevant legal and other sources in primary and secondary form, both in paper and digital formats

Cognitive Skills

Analysis. Identifying and ordering issues by relevance and importance
Synthesis of materials from diverse sources including analysis of research data and findings
Critical judgement - discernment between the merits or otherwise of particular arguments
Evaluation - making a reasoned choice between competing research findings
Ability to apply theory, policy and practice in their analysis of criminal justice practice

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials81:008:00A combination of short recordings of lecture material and text published on VLE each week.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture21:303:00Flex: online
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion170:0070:00Assessment prep and completion for formative and summative
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops72:0014:004 groups of approx. 20-25. Flex: online
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork13:003:00Criminal Justice in Action activity. Flex: 2 options depending on pandemic (see notes)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery41:004:00Scheduled throughout the module. Flex: online
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity80:304:00Mixture of reflective learning/group prep/skills practice in prep for the workshops
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study192:0092:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesScheduled on-line contact time21:002:00Moderated discussion board
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The teaching methods are designed to reflect an interactive and inclusive approach to teaching through in person, online discussions, in person and online activities as well as a variety of guided student activities. It allows students to explore their own particular interests within the field of criminal justice. Teaching methods promote critical analysis and awareness providing the opportunity for skills to be developed within group presentation, individual preparation of the research paper relating to a contemporary issue in criminal justice etc.,

Given the nature of academic year 20/21 when it was clear that no in person teaching would take place and 21/22 when there was still the impact of the pandemic the module has been developed for 22/23 recognising the need for a period of transition back from the impact of covid-19 on students and colleagues. It has also been developed recognising the need for contact within a safe environment, that is meaningful and that can be easily scheduled online if the need arises.

The module tends to attract a large number – in the region of 100 this academic year. The proposal is to divide that number into 4 groups of no more than 20-25 (checked with Faculty re numbers in a Workshop if no 'small group' session). A 2-hour workshop (with a break in between) will be used over 7 weeks. It also provides for a simple structure. If some students have to shield, care for family members who are shielding or work from home then there is the option to host one of those groups online to cater to those students. We do not anticipate numbers on the module exceeding 100 but request a cap of 100 for AY 22/23.

Lecture slots of 2x 1.30mins to allow for guest lectures/webinars

Sessions will be skills and substantive knowledge focused taking into account the Graduate Framework and Education for Life strategy – plus working towards the transition of LAW3013 into the new curriculum format. The workshop model utilises skills to enhance the development of substantive knowledge and be research led. There will be a range of activities used within the workshop but all online lecture material/online discussions and drop ins will be geared to working towards the Workshops and assessments.

Module format continues to reflect the current climate that we are working within.

Teaching room: appropriately ventilated and with space.

Meets the criteria of over 50% of the 33 hours being in person based, if appropriate, at the time of going live.

Fieldwork (options to be open to students to decide and will link to the appropriate workshop)
Option 1: Crime and the Environment
Activity: students asked to walk around their local area (socially distanced) to observe from a criminal justice perspective and consider the impact of criminal justice policies on their local area – this may include policing, designing out crime. This can be carried out in Newcastle or wherever they are living.
FLEX: Shielded/online alternative: to look at resources such as the Police Crime Mapping database and analyse crime in their local area from the official statistics as well as looking at newspaper reports or online local report of crime/police responses. This can be done at home
The Tutor will post a series of questions that can be done equally through both the default and the alternate approach. And they will equally be able to feed into the small group session. The links will be posted on Canvas for all to access.

Option 2: Court observation: observation at the Magistrates Court or Crown Court to which students will have to prepare an observation schedule for discussion at one of the Workshops.
FLEX: I am looking if students can attend online court hearings which should allow for public access (this might be an option). For academic year 22/23 this will link with the summative assessment.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Research paper2M100Research Paper, 3000 words. Choice of 1 out of 2 research questions
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Research proposal2MResearch paper plan using the NU Reflect template (CCJ took part in NU Reflect Reflective Practice Pilot in academic year 21/22)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Summative: The assessed research paper provides students with the opportunity of demonstrating their research skills and understanding the relationship between criminal justice policy and criminological debates. The research paper reflects the nature of the module.

Formative: Students will be asked to prepare an outline of their research paper for which they will receive feedback to inform the further development of their paper. Following the participation in the NU Reflect Reflective Practice Pilot the students will be provided with a template to complete. This will form the basis of a scheduled drop in and formative assessment.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2022/23 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2023/24 entry will be published here in early-April 2023. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.