Module Catalogue 2023/24

LAW3035 : Terrorism and Counter-terrorism Law

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Colin Murray
  • Lecturer: Mr Joshua Jowitt
  • Owning School: Newcastle Law School
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Code Title
LAW1220Constitutional Law
LAW1240Administrative Law and Human Rights
LAW2260Criminal Law
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



1. To acquire knowledge and understanding of the key legal principles and techniques involved in counter-terrorism.

2. To critically analyse the problems democratic states face in conceptualising and responding to terrorism.

3. To enable students to engage with the contemporary legal and political debates about national security and appropriate responses to terrorism.

Outline Of Syllabus

The module is structured into 4 topics which address at different elements in the UK's response to terrorism.

1. Introduction

Outline Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism
War model of counter-terrorism
Crime model of counter-terrorism

2. Criminal Procedure and Counter-Terrorism

Police Powers
Rules of Evidence
Conducting terrorism trials?

3. Criminal Law Responses to Terrorism

Criminalising organisations
Criminalising support of terrorism
Problems in

4. Executive Responses to Terrorism

Indefinite detention
Control orders
Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

Students will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of a relatively new and developing knowledge of contemporary importance and, in particular, the following:

(1) The philosophical, social, cultural, ideological and political problems underlying terrorism.

(2) The political and legal complexities for a liberal democratic state in responding to terrorism effectively.

(3) UK counter-terrorism law, the effects of these laws, and how UK counter terrorism policy has been affected by political issues.

(4) The influence of international law (such as human rights, the laws of war, counter-terrorism treaties) on UK law and policies.

(5) The advantages and limitations of UK legal responses and overview of alternative approaches.

Intended Skill Outcomes

Subject Specific Skills

(1) Ability to write and speak with care and precision in the analysis and synthesis of the law;

(2) Ability to structure argument and analysis; using the interpretative methods and strategies used in human rights issues;

(3) Ability to distinguish between legal and political sources, to retrieve accurate and relevant legal and other sources in primary and secondary form both in paper and digital formats.

(4) Ability to engage in legal problem-solving. Including identifying relevant issues, reasoning by applying relevant concepts,
principles and rules, making judgements and reach supported conclusions.

Cognitive Skills

(1) Analysis - Identifying and ordering issues by relevance and importance.

(2) Synthesis – Drawing together materials from diverse sources.

(3) Critical judgement - Discernment between the merits or otherwise of particular arguments.

(4) Evaluation - Making a reasoned choice between competing solutions or arguments.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials31:003:00Non-synchronous feed forward & feedback.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture221:0022:00In person lectures on substantive content (FLEX: could be moved to synchronous/nonsynchronous)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching41:004:00Synchronous small group seminar sessions.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops31:003:00Synchronous large group sessions (FLEX: in class or online).
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery11:001:00Synchronous Q&A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study351:0035:00Assessment preparation
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1321:00132:00Independent study: supplementary
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures aim to provide an overview of the background and main principles, examples of reasoning methods, and an introduction to the main controversial issues.

Seminars (small group teaching) provide the opportunity to develop oral, analytical and critical skills, whether present-in-person or online. Discussion is structured to consider questions focusing on key principles and problem areas. Some seminars will use problem style questions, providing opportunities for group-based in-depth skills and knowledge development in relation to the application of the law to complex factual scenarios. Other seminars will focus discussion around debate propositions or essay style statements. These components will provide formative practice opportunities ahead of the summative assessments. There will be four one-hour small group sessions, all of which will be synchronous events.

Synchronous workshops will tie together the module topics and are intended to have a degree of interactivity. These workshops will focus on the preparation of different types of exam response (and allow for an informal formative assessment).

Q&A, Feed-forward and Feedback sessions will represent additional contact time. These sessions are opportunities for students to ask broader questions about the module content or to seek additional feed-forward guidance in relation to assessments.

Guided Independent Study through online discussion is intended to consolidate learning as students work through module topics. These will be mixed synchronous/asynchronous in nature, with a minimum of seven synchronous sessions.

Independent Study is to be divided between preparing for lectures and seminars, consolidation, and revision.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination14402A10024 hr take home exam. Students will be required to answer 3 questions from choice of 6.
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Written Examination2MTake at home formative assessment under exam conditions.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The emphasis in this module is upon developing analytical skills, critique and innovative thinking. The final examination requires students to answer three essay or problem questions from a choice of six in a 24 hour period, with a cap of 1100 words for each answer. This format requires a broad understanding of the material covered in the module and engages critical, analytical and evaluative skills, as well as the ability to write with care and precision in a time-limited context. It also allows students to draw upon their materials in preparing an answer, thereby developing a key legal skill of being able to synthesise materials and knowledge in response to questions in a time-limited fashion.

An emphasis is placed in exam preparation on deep engagement with the question. Although there is no compulsory formative exercise, there is a workshop devoted to a practice response which will be marked as if it was formally submitted, allowing experienced Stage 3 students to choose to take on this task if they would find it of benefit.

The style of the formative assessment mimics that of the summative exam. The formative exam will be testing the same skills, under timed conditions and will provide students with an opportunity to receive timely feedback.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2023/24 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 2024/25 entry will be published here in early-April 2024. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.