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PSY8046 : Legal Psychology and the Criminal Justice System

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Mr Gary Pankhurst
  • Owning School: Psychology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


This module is designed to introduce students to the interdisciplinary nature of forensic psychology in the context of legal processes and to the application of psychological knowledge to the civil & criminal justice systems. This module will discuss a range of theoretical approaches that have been used to explain psychology & law, and will provide an understanding of the principles of studying the criminal justice system. Students will analyse the ways in which psychological theories can be applied to the criminal justice process investigative process (including the presentation of evidence), issues relating to jury selection and decision making, the nature of expert evidence and the through-care and after-care of victims, witnesses and suspects of crime.

Outline Of Syllabus

• Introduction to the civil and criminal justice systems
• Applications and interventions within the criminal and civil justice systems, including procedures and concepts
• Evaluating evidence
• Jury decision making
• Expert witness testimony
• The relationship and psychological impact of the legal processes in relation to victims, witnesses and suspects of crime
• Psychology and the application/process of detention to individuals
• Through-care and aftercare for victims, witnesses & suspected offenders of crime (including the management of convicted offenders).
• The Human Rights Act and the Criminal Justice System

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops112:0022:00Present in Person Sessions
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1781:00178:00Independent study/assessment prep & completion)
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Present in Person (PIP) workshop-based learning will be used as the main way to impart knowledge and to stimulate interests in the topics. To attain the intended knowledge outcomes and skills in full, it will be essential that students engage in private study before and after the taught sessions. The private study time will allow students to carry out an in-depth review of the knowledge imparted through workshops, to generate their own views on the topics and to follow these out by carrying out independent literature reviews, thereby taking control over their learning and preparing them for the assignment(essay).

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M1003,000-word critical review of a paper published in the last 3 years ECA (to be agreed with module leader before submitting)
Formative Assessments

Formative Assessment is an assessment which develops your skills in being assessed, allows for you to receive feedback, and prepares you for being assessed. However, it does not count to your final mark.

Description Semester When Set Comment
Oral Presentation2MOnline group presentation on the human rights act and the criminal justice system (10 mins max)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Formative assessment: Students will conduct group work online to produce a presentation on an aspect of the Human Rights Act and the Criminal Justice System. Formative feedback will be provided.

This module will be assessed by one summative assessment as detailed below:

ECA: A 3,000 word critical review of a published paper (100%) of total module mark) relating to one aspect of legal psychology and the criminal justice system. Students should demonstrate that they have developed the ability to critically evaluate theories relating to this module and that they have the critical knowledge and understanding of the various techniques utilised in studying Legal Psychology and the Criminal Justice System, together with the ethical issues involved. Students should demonstrate that they have a thorough knowledge and understanding of the importance and extent of Legal Psychology and the Criminal Justice System, and possess a critical appreciation of the interdisciplinary nature of the key theories. A guide to assist students in how to write a critical review will be provided.

The ECA will assess both the knowledge and skills outcomes for this module (e.g., writing skills, critical analysis and constructing an evidence based argument.

Reading Lists