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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Criminal Law 1
Module Code LG384
School School of Law & Government
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Lauren O'Connell
Semester 2: Lauren O'Connell
Autumn: Lauren O'Connell
Module TeachersYvonne Daly
Lauren O'Connell
NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None

This module aims: - to examine the origins and purpose of criminal law, including an examination of ever-evolving definition of criminal behaviour; - to consider the elements of a crime (actus reus, mens rea); - to explore the common law rules and legislation regulating the criminal law, with an investigation of the context in which such rules have developed; - to develop the necessary skills to determine criminal liability, construct defences and critically analyse the criminal law.

Learning Outcomes

1. Outline the function of criminal law in society;
2. Recount the basic principles of criminal law, and the context of their development and application;
3. Describe and apply the rules of criminal law;
4. Solve realistic problems with reference to case law and legislation;
5. Critique the development of Irish criminal law in relation to particular offences and defences.

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture24No Description
Assignment Completion26Research and write up of individual assignment
Independent Study50Reading for lectures
Independent Study25Exam Revision
Total Workload: 125

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Introduction to the Criminal Justice System – origins and purpose of criminal law; evolving and changing definitions of criminal behaviour; brief introduction to criminological theories;

Criminal Liability – burden and standard of proof; elements of a crime (actus reus, mens rea); secondary liability, including common design.

Inchoate offences – attempt, incitement, conspiracy; defences to inchoate offences

General defences – infancy, intoxication, insanity, automatism, self-defence, provocation, duress, necessity, entrapment, mistake, consent

Offences against the Person (Fatal) – Murder and manslaughter – critical analysis of murder rates in Ireland

Offences against the Person (Non-Fatal) – Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act, 1997
assault, reckless endangerment, false imprisonment, syringe attacks – societal influences on development of non-fatal offences

Sexual Offences – sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, rape, rape under section 4 – critical perspectives on sexual offences

Offences against Property – Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act, 2001
theft, robbery, burglary, handling stolen property, criminal damage

Within this module there will also be an opportunity for students to participate in a tour of Mountjoy Prison.

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 1
Indicative Reading List

  • Hanly: 2006, An Introduction to Irish Criminal Law, 2nd, Gill and Macmillan, Dublin,
  • Campbell, Kilcommins and O Sullivan: 2009, Criminal Law in Ireland – Cases and Commentary, Clarus Press, Dublin,
  • Charleton, McDermott and Bolger: 1999, Criminal Law, Butterworths, Dublin,
  • Smith and Hogan: 2009, Criminal Law: Cases and Materials, 10th, OUP, London,
  • Lacey and Wells: 2003, Reconstructing Criminal Law, 3rd, CUP,
  • McGreal: 2003, , Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act 2001, Thomson/Round Hall, Dublin,
  • Ashworth, A.: 2009, Principles of Criminal Law, 6th, OUP,
  • Walsh: 2002, Criminal Procedure, Thomson / Round Hall, Dublin,
  • O Mahony (ed.): 2002, Criminal Justice in Ireland, Institute of Public Administration, Dublin,
  • Smith and Hogan: 2008, Criminal Law, 12th, OUP,
  • Norrie: 2001, Crime, Reason and History: A Critical Introduction to Criminal Law, 2nd, CUP,
  • O Donnell and O Sullivan: 2001, Crime Control in Ireland: The Politics of Intolerance, Cork University Press,
  • McAuley and McCutcheon: 2000, Criminal Liability, Round Hall, Dublin,
  • Bibbings and Nicolson: 2000, Feminist Perspectives on Criminal Law, Routledge, UK,
  • Bacik and O Connell (eds.): 1998, Crime and Poverty in Ireland, Round Hall, Dublin,
  • O Malley: 1996, Sexual Offences: Law, Policy and Punishment, Round Hall / Sweet and Maxwell, Dublin,
  • O Mahony: 1996, Criminal Chaos, Round Hall, Dublin,
  • Fennell: 1993, Crime and Crisis in Ireland, Cork University Press,
Other Resources

31400, Reports, 0, Law Reform Commission Consultation Papers and Reports on criminal law issues, e.g. Report on Homicide: Murder and Involuntary Manslaughter (January 2008), Consultation Paper on Legitimate Defence (November 2006), 31401, Electronic Sources, 0, Justis, WestLaw IE, FirstLaw, LexisNexis, www.bailii.org, www.irishstatutebook.ie, www.lawreform.ie, www.courts.ie, www.echr.coe.int, 31402, Moodle, 0, Lecture notes and links to relevant journal articles, case-law and websites will be available on the DCU Moodle page for this module., 31403, Other Journals, 0, Students should also regularly refer to relevant journals, such as the Irish Criminal Law Journal, the Judicial Studies Institute Journal, and the Dublin University Law Journal,
Programme or List of Programmes
BAJLBachelor of Arts (BAJL)
BAJLIBachelor of Arts (BAJLI)
BAJLNBachelor of Arts (BAJLN) - Intra Law
BAJPBachelor of Arts (BAJP)
BAJPIBachelor of Arts (BAJPI)
BAJPNBachelor of Arts (BAJPN) - Intra P
BSSAOStudy Abroad (DCU Business School)
EPLBA in Economics, Politics and Law
HMSAStudy Abroad (Humanities & Soc Science)
HMSAOStudy Abroad (Humanities & Soc Science)

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