Criminal Law and Litigation

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In Brief

Criminal law is highly complex, vast, and overlaps with other areas of law such as company law, environmental law, family law, torts law and human rights. In Criminal litigation technical procedural rules and rules of evidence, ensure the accused is given a fair trial and only found guilty if the prosecution proves their guilt beyond reasonable doubt. 

The role of the police, prosecutor and the Court is to ensure that those who commit an offence are punished and that punishment serves as a deterrence for other would be offenders. Balanced against this aim are the roles of defence lawyers who test the evidence the prosecution places before the Court and ensure that the jury convicts only on that evidence rather than speculation or innuendo. Judges and Magistrates are responsible for controlling the proceedings and guiding the jury.

Criminal proceedings are brought in the name of the Crown – not the victim. The Crown may decide not to prosecute certain offenders because evidence is weak.  To understand the reasoning behind this, and maintain confidence in the criminal justice system, we must understand the elements that make up the offences, defences available and mitigating circumstances that all influence the guilt or innocence of an accused party.

What’s in this module?

Criminal Liability >> learn about murder, manslaughter, and the partial defences available to an accused 

Other Criminal Offences>> examine the offences against the person such as assault, battery and grievous bodily harm and offences against property

Defences>> study the full defences of insanity, mistake, intoxication, and self defence

Criminal Litigation >> learn and understand the role of the police, the prosecution, defence, Magistrates and Judges, the Jury, the rights of the accused and Human Rights Protection.    

  • Exercises
  • Case Study- A Famous Miscarriage of Justice
    • A Precedent -making case in common law
      • details and judgement
      • why the case is important
  • Writing Corner
    • Report giving advice on defences in criminal law