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LAWS104 Foundations of Law and Legal Research , LAWS106 Criminal Law and Procedure

Unit rationale, description and aim

This unit introduces students to aspects of criminal law not covered in LAWS106 Criminal Law, including federal and transnational offences (such as people trafficking, people smuggling, drug smuggling, terrorism, cybercrime and corporate crime), and issues in sentencing for such offences. This unit also provides insight into theories of criminal law and contemporary law reform issues.

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.

Learning Outcome NumberLearning Outcome Description
LO1Describe and evaluate criminal liability in hypothetical scenarios by identifying and interpreting applicable legislation and case law, and formulating persuasive legal arguments
LO2Find, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate materials relevant to research in particular topics in criminal law
LO3Describe and critically evaluate legal outcomes in hypothetical criminal offence scenarios from legal, policy and political/philosophical perspectives, including by taking into account international perspectives


Topics will include: 

  • federal and transnational offences, such as people trafficking, people smuggling, drug smuggling, terrorism, cybercrime and corporate crime;  
  • sentencing;  
  • theories of criminal law;  
  • current issues in law reform. 

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 three elective unit allows students to demonstrate knowledge, skills and understanding in a specialist area of law applying knowledge, skills and understanding acquired in Priestley units.  


Our strategy is to encourage students to creatively engage with unit content and to apply prior learnings to new legal problems.  


The unit is designed to be delivered in intensive, weekly or online. We have taken a multimodal 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 Canvas.

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment strategy is designed to assess knowledge, skills and understanding in a specialist area of law, applying knowledge, skills and understanding acquired in Priestley units.  


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

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning Outcomes

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.


LO1, LO2

Group presentation: This assignment requires students to present on a topic allocated in week two, students are to present in Groups of 4 with their presentation lasting 20 minutes each presentation.



Research essay: This assignment requires students to undertake a comparative research project on one of two key areas in advanced criminal law.


LO1, LO2, LO3

Representative texts and references

Stephen Odgers, Principles of Federal Criminal Law (Thomson Reuters, 3rd ed, 2015) 


Arie Freiberg, Fox and Freiberg’s Sentencing: State and Federal Law in Victoria (Thomson Reuters, 2014)  


Neil Boister, Robert J Currie (eds), Routledge Handbook of Transnational Criminal Law (Routledge, 2014).   

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