Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Teaching organisation

4 hours per week for twelve weeks or equivalent.

Unit rationale, description and aim

Criminal Law and Procedure deals with the nature, purpose and justification of the criminal law and the various forms of conduct that are made crimes in in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and the Commonwealth. It also examines the procedures used to detain, prosecute and try persons charged with criminal offences.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Accurately identify, locate, and interpret relevant primary sources of criminal law (GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8)

LO2 - Apply the Criminal Law to factual situations and thereby advise clients and others of their rights and liabilities (GA3, GA4, GA6)

LO3 - Identify, describe and critically evaluate the offences created by the Criminal Law relevant to the jurisdiction (GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA9)

LO4 - Prepare and write an opinion on criminal liability to a professional standard (GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8, GA9)

Graduate attributes

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 


Topics will include: 

  1. Definitions of Crime and the Aims of the Criminal Law 
  2. Elements of Crime 
  3. Sources of Criminal Liability 
  4. Homicide and Defences 
  5. Non-fatal Offences against the Person 
  6. Property Offences 
  7. Inchoate Offences 
  8. Participatory Liability 
  9. Defences 
  10. Commencement of Criminal Proceedings 
  11. Arrest, Search, Seizure, Forensic Procedure and Police Questioning 
  12. Bail 
  13. Trial 
  14. Sentencing 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Mode: Lectures, tutorials, electronic consultation, library tasks and presentations or Online lectures and activities.  

Duration:4 hours per week over 12 weeks or equivalent.  Students are expected to spend 150 hours in total for this unit. 

This level one compulsory Law unit allows students to demonstrate knowledge, skills and understanding in a specialist area of law to meet the requirements of accreditation.  

Our strategy is to encourage students to creatively engage with unit content and to apply fundamental legal knowledge, skills and understandings to address legal problems.  

The unit is designed to be delivered in intensive, weekly or online mode. We have taken a blended learning approach to provide accessibility and flexibility to our students and a student focused approach that increases depth of learning and engagement through actively utilising LEO.   

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment strategy is designed to assess knowledge, skills and understanding in a specialist area of law required for accreditation.  

The assessment tasks for this unit are designed to demonstrate achievement of each of the learning outcomes listed.  

All assessment items must be attempted and submitted to be eligible for a passing grade.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assignment 1: Hypothetical Problem 


LO2, LO3 

GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9 

Assignment 2: Written opinion on criminal liability 


LO1, LO2, LO4

GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, 

Exam: A series of hypothetical questions designed to test students’ knowledge of and abilty to apply criminal law theory to practical examples. Exam will be completed online via LEO.


LO1, LO2, LO3 

GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, 

Representative texts and references

John Anderson et al, Criminal Law Perspectives: From Principles to Practice (Cambridge University Press, 2021)

Simon Bronitt and Bernadette McSherry, Principles of Criminal Law (Thomson Reuters, 4th  ed, 2017) 

Roderick Howie and Peter Johnson, Annotated Criminal Legislation New South Wales (Lexis Nexis)

Gerard Nash, Annotated Criminal Legislation Victoria (Lexis Nexis)

Michael Shanahan et al, Carter’s Criminal Law of Queensland (Lexis Nexis)

Tyrone Kirchengast et al, Waller and Williams Criminal Law Text and Cases (Lexis Nexis, 14th ed, 2020)

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