Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


LCRM101 Introduction to Criminology OR LCRM102 - Violence through History

Unit rationale, description and aim

Corruption and white-collar crimes affect more than half of Australian organisations, with associated loses in millions of dollars. Understanding white-collar crime and corruption is important because this helps in developing both prevention and intervention strategies.

This unit will build on knowledge developed in introductory units and allow students to understand contemporary approaches to the white-collar crime. This includes understanding the categorization of “blue collar” or “crime on the streets” and “white collar” or “crime in the suits”, reviewing the justifications for criminalizing white collar crime, comparing the harms caused by blue collar and white collar criminality, assessing the differing responses of society to these harms, reviewing the approaches of regulators (education, civil penalties, criminal penalties), assessing how different property offences can be triggered in a white collar context, outlining the various criminal regulatory regimes and their powers of investigation, reviewing corporate and vicarious liability. There will also be a review of the international background to the offending and the regulation of such offending.

The aim of this unit is to provide students with the knowledge required to understand how commercial law and criminal law overlap and to assess the propriety of those approaches as they relate to prevention and intervention in corruption and white-collar crime.

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 - Describe key themes and principles applicable to modern approaches to sentencing as they apply to corruption and white collar crimes (GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8)

LO2 - Evaluate societal policies that lead to the use of the criminal law in the context of white collar misbehaviour (GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8)

LO3 - Apply contemporary principles to case studies of corruption and white collar crimes (GA1, GA3, GA7, GA8, GA9)

Graduate attributes

GA1 - Demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity

GA2 - Recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society

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:

  • The history behind the phrase "white collar crime".
  • The international agreements that underpin modern regimes of white collar offending
  • The distinction between a civil wrong and a criminal wrong.
  • The approaches to vicarious and corporate criminal liability and how they have developed.
  • The law of property offending and how that applies in the commercial context.
  • An overview of the criminal law provisions applicable to commercial practice, including:
  • In establishing and running corporations
  • In raising finance and other matters relating to financial markets
  • In trading, including matters of consumer protection and competition, checking supply chains
  • In paying taxes and duties
  • The approach to sentencing in a white collar context, including the use of civil penalties
  • The investigative powers given to regulators

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit comprises 150 hours of study in total. It will be taught over a 12 week semester, with one 2-hour lecture followed by a 1-hour tutorial each week or ACU Online 10 week asynchronous delivery mode. Other study components might include on-line webinars, podcasts, readings, discussion forums etc. The balance of the hours is comprised of self-directed study.

Students will undertake practical learning and assessments that focus on real-world problems and challenges with the goal of developing their problem solving, decision making and investigative skills with regard to issues of white-collar crime. This unit engages students in active learning activities, such as reading, writing, discussion and problem-solving to promote analysis, synthesis and evaluation of class content. Students will also work collaboratively in groups to prepare and deliver a White-Collar Crime Simulation. Collaborative learning is an important component of active learning and sits within a community of inquiry theoretical framework. It provides opportunities for a group of individuals to collaborate in purposeful critical discourse and reflection to construct personal meaning and mutual understanding.

ACU Online

This unit uses an active learning approach to support students in the exploration of knowledge essential to the discipline. Students are provided with choice and variety in how they learn. Students are encouraged to contribute to asynchronous weekly discussions. Active learning opportunities provide students with opportunities to practice and apply their learning in situations similar to their future professions. Activities encourage students to bring their own examples to demonstrate understanding, application and engage constructively with their peers. Students receive regular and timely feedback on their learning, which includes information on their progress.

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment tasks have been explicitly created to address the identified Learning Outcomes for this unit (assessment of learning), and to integrate directly with the learning and teaching strategy (assessment for learning).

In this unit three assessment tasks are proposed to scaffold students learning progressively. 

  1. Short Written Task. Students will be required to describe key themes relating to an aspect of white collar criminal law. This may take the form of a short answer test, in-class ‘minute paper’ or other equivalent task.
  2. Research Essay. This assessment requires students to critically evaluate societal responses illustrated by the current state of white-collar criminal law. The research essay will allow students to engage with the scholarship on specific approaches to research and write a substantial essay that responds to a question that engages with key issues within white-collar criminal law.
  3. White Collar Criminal Law Simulation. Students will participate in a complex role playing exercise in which they will apply contemporary principles to case studies, such as (by way of illustration) conducting a mock court hearing to assess whether identified behaviour is criminal and if so what should be the response to it, or conducing a mock parliamentary debate as to whether aspects of commercial behaviour should be criminal. This assessment will allow students to demonstrate their capacity to work collaboratively in the field of criminal justice and demonstrate a professional attitude, to the problems or task at hand. It will involve both written submissions and oral presentations, with students acting as (by way of illustration) advocates, members of the parole board, and expert witnesses.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Short Written Task: This assessment builds knowledge around the law, policy and practice relating to corruption and white collar crime.



GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8

Research Essay: This assessment develops skills around evaluating societal responses to harmful conduct in the context of white-collar activities.


LO1, LO2

GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8

White Collar Crime Simulation: This assessment requires students to work collaboratively to apply contemporary principles.


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA1, GA3, GA7, GA8, GA9

Representative texts and references

Ryder N, ed, White Collar Crime and Risk: Financial Crime, Corruption and the Financial Crisis (Palgrave Studies in Risk, Crime and Society), 2018.

Gottschalk P, Organizational Opportunity and Deviant Behavior: Convenience in White-Collar Crime, 2017.

Harrison K & Ryder N, The Law Relating to Financial Crime in the United Kingdom, 2nd edition, 2017.

Gottschalk P, Investigating White-Collar Crime: Evaluation of Fraud Examinations, 2018.

Pontell H & Geis G, eds., International Handbook of White-Collar and Corporate Crime, 2006.

Croall H, Understanding White Collar Crime, 2nd edition, 2001.

Burke R, Tomlinson E & Cooper C, eds., Crime and Corruption in Organizations: Why It Occurs and What To Do About It, 2018.

Benson M & Simpson S, White-Collar Crime: An Opportunity Perspective, 3rd edition, 2018.

Financial Action Task Force:

Legislative regimes:, and .

UN Office on Drugs and Crime: 

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