Unit rationale, description and aim
In this unit students will be introduced to selected issues relating to mental disorder and criminal responsibility. Students will examine the definition of mental disorder and the implications of this definition for clients. The law relating to mental impairment/insanity, diminished responsibility, infanticide and other specific areas will be examined. Students will examine the role of expert psychiatric and psychological testimony in relation to these issues, developing an understanding of the nature and ambit of such evidence as well as the manner in which it is constructed and delivered to the criminal courts.
On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:
LO1 - Describe and critically evaluate the principles governing mental illness and criminal responsibility (GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9)
LO2 - Demonstrate an applied understanding of relevant legal principles to a range of different fact situations involving mental illness and criminal liability (GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6)
LO3 - Identify the current approaches taken Australia regarding the processing of mentally ill offenders through the criminal justice system (GA3, GA4, GA5 GA8,)
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
GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information
GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media
Topics will include:
- History of Psychology and Legal Psychology
- Mental Impairment / insanity
- Marital Coercion
- Biological Syndromes
- Psychological Syndromes
- Current Approaches in the criminal justice system
- Mental Disorder Defences
- Profiling and investigation
- Expert Psychiatric and Psychological Testimony
Learning and teaching strategy and rationale
Mode:Lectures, tutorials, electronic consultation, library tasks and presentations or Online lectures and activities.
Duration:3 hours per week over 12 weeks or equivalent. Students are expected to spend 150 hours in total for this unit.
This level two elective unit allows students to demonstrate knowledge, skills and understanding in a specialist area of law building on knowledge developed in the compulsory units.
Our strategy is to encourage students to creatively engage with unit content and to apply Priestley knowledge in a specialist area of law.
The unit is designed to be delivered in intensive, weekly mode 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, and to apply knowledge developed in the compulsory law units to a specialist area of law.
The assessment tasks for this unit are designed to demonstrate achievement of each of the learning outcomes listed. Theses may include but are not limited to essays, exams, problem questions, participation and presentations.
Overview of assessments
|Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment Tasks||Weighting||Learning Outcomes||Graduate Attributes|
Take Home Examination: The Take Home Exam requires students to answer a hypothetical problem that will be based on the material presented in lectures, workshops and tutorials during the intensive week.
GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8, GA9
Research Paper: This assignment requires students to undertake a research project on a key area of law reform.
LO1, LO2, LO3
GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8, GA9
Representative texts and references
Brianna Chesser, Criminal Courts and Mental Illness (Thomson Reuters, 2016).
A Kapardis, Psychology and Law: A Critical Introduction (4th Edition, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014).
MA Nolan and J Goodman-Delahunty, Legal Psychology in Australia (1st Edition, Pyrmont: Thomson Reuters Lawbook Co, 2015)
JRP Ogloff (ed) Taking Psychology and Law into the Twenty-First Century (New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, 2002)