Course Title: Analyse and evaluate concepts and principles of criminal law

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2017

Course Code: LAW5722

Course Title: Analyse and evaluate concepts and principles of criminal law

School: 650T Vocational Business Education

Campus: City Campus

Program: C6141 - Advanced Diploma of Legal Practice

Course Contact: Robert Sheen

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925 5759

Course Contact Email:

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Doug Cole

9925 5424

Location: 80.05.018


Karen Ward (Sessional Teacher)

Location: 80.05.018


Nominal Hours: 50

Regardless of the mode of delivery, represent a guide to the relative teaching time and student effort required to successfully achieve a particular competency/module. This may include not only scheduled classes or workplace visits but also the amount of effort required to undertake, evaluate and complete all assessment requirements, including any non-classroom activities.

Pre-requisites and Co-requisites


Course Description

This unit describes the skills and knowledge required to employ legal principles and aspects of criminal law, including criminal procedure, substantive aspects of criminal offences as defined in legislation and at common law, and, to evaluate the impact of law reform issues, in order to support the work of a legal office or associated context.

This unit supports the work of personnel engaged in the operation of a legal office, legal aid provider, government department or associated justice contexts within public and/or corporate sectors.

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

VU21641 Analyse and evaluate concepts and principles of criminal law


1.Analyse the concept of crime and assess the purposes of criminal law within society

Performance Criteria:

1.1 Research, discuss and define the concept of crime 1.2 Research, compare and contrast the sources of criminal law 1.3 Analyse the concepts of mens rea and actus reus 1.4 Identify and describe the particular purposes of criminal law, with reference to retribution, deterrence, reformation and rehabilitation, and certainty


2.Outline and apply the pre-trial and trial procedures in a criminal matter and discuss the possible penalties for a criminal offence

Performance Criteria:

2.1 Identify and describe the preliminary and trial procedures in Victoria with particular reference to: • summary offences, indictable offences and indictable offences triable summarily • the Victorian court hierarchy in the criminal justice system • the mention system • the committal process • arraignment • the procedure in relation to a jury trial • the procedure in the Magistrates' Court following a not guilty plea 2.2 Define the concept of bail, the process of a bail application, and the conditions under which bail may be granted according to the Bail Act 1977 (Vic) and analyse for application 2.3 Identify and describe the sentencing procedures followed in the Victorian criminal justice system, with reference to: • the sentencing hearing • dismissals • discharges • adjournments • offenders with an intellectual disability • victim impact statements 2.4 Identify and discuss the various penalties available for particular criminal offences 2.5 Research and discuss the reforms to evidence and criminal procedure in Victoria, with reference to: • Criminal Procedure Act 2009 (Vic) • Evidence Act 2008 (Vic) 2.6 Analyse the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 (Vic) with reference to criminal law issues


3.Analyse and apply the key elements of the criminal offences of murder and manslaughter, and assess the available defences to such prosecutions

Performance Criteria:

3.1 Define and analyse the concept of homicide and analyse for application, making reference to: • who may be the victim of homicide • infanticide • child destruction • murder, manslaughter and culpable driving • concealment of birth • the meaning of death 3.2 Distinguish homicides which are defined in legislation from those defined at common law 3.3 Analyse and define the specific elements of the criminal offence of murder, including when the offence of murder is substantiated, and analyse for application 3.4 Analyse and define the specific elements of the criminal offence of manslaughter, including when an offence of manslaughter is substantiated, and analyse for application 3.5 Research current issues regarding homicide, including the controversy in relation to euthanasia, and discuss their impact 3.6 Research changes to abortion laws in Victoria, with reference to Abortion Law Reform Act 2008 (Vic), and analyse for application


4.Determine and apply the elements of offences against the person other than homicide

Performance Criteria:

4.1 Demonstrate the key elements of criminal assault and other offences involving violence, including when an offence is substantiated, and analyse for application 4.2 Research and discuss current issues in offences against the person, including domestic violence and assistance for victims of crime and stalking 4.3 Determine the key elements that comprise sexual offences, including when an offence is substantiated, and analyse for application 4.4 Research current issues regarding sexual offences, including inter alia sentencing practice for rape offences, jury direction in rape cases and refer to the sexual history of the complainant, and analyse for practice


5.Evaluate and apply the available defences to particular offences

Performance Criteria:

5.1 Identify and describe the concept of defensive homicide on a charge of murder and determine the circumstances under which defensive homicide is available as a defence 5.2 Define the concept of self-defence and determine the circumstances under which self-defence may be applied 5.3 Assess the defences of duress, marital coercion, sudden or extraordinary emergency, superior orders and necessity, with reference to availability, elements, particular issues in relation to the offence of murder, precedent, and Crimes (Homicide) Act 2005 5.4 Identify and describe the circumstances in which impaired or altered mental states may negate criminal responsibility


6.Analyse and apply the law relating to the types of participation in crime and attempts

Performance Criteria:

6.1 Analyse the culpability of the participants in a given crime, using relevant culpability case examples. 6.2 Analyse and assess the concept of attempt in criminal law, with reference to actus reus, voluntary desistance, mens rea, legal and factual impossibility and the statutory provisions


7.Analyse and apply the various elements to the criminal offence of theft, and discuss the available statutory defences

Performance Criteria:

7.1 Research and discuss the historical background to the law of theft, including larceny at common law and the reasons behind the introduction of the theft provisions of the Crimes Act 7.2 Analyse and discuss the terms property, belonging to another, and appropriates as stipulated by the Crimes Act 7.3 Describe the concept of intention of permanently depriving, as defined by the Crimes Act, with reference to the presumption in relation to motor vehicles and aircraft, and analyse for application 7.4 Define the concept of appropriation of property dishonestly, as defined by the Crimes Act, with reference to claim of right, consent, unknown owner and willingness to pay, and analyse for application 7.5 Analyse the applications of theft provisions to case study materials


8.Determine and apply the elements of crimes of obtaining property as defined by the Crimes Act

Performance Criteria:

8.1 Outline the definitions of the criminal offences of obtaining property by deception and of obtaining a financial advantage by deception, as stipulated by S 81 and S 82 of the Crimes Act and apply to case study material 8.2 Analyse, for application, the criminal offences of robbery and armed robbery (S75 & S75A), burglary and aggravated burglary (S76 & S77) and blackmail (S87), as defined by the Crimes Act and apply to case study material


9.Analyse and apply the key elements required for strict and absolute liability offences

Performance Criteria:

9.1 Identify and explain the distinctions between mens rea offences, strict liability offences and offences of absolute liability and the criteria for making the distinctions 9.2 Research the rationale for offences of strict or absolute liability and relevant statutory provisions for creating them and analyse for application 9.3 Examine the operation of the defence of mistake in relation to strict liability offences, including the distinction between a mistake of fact and a mistake of law, and, the onus of proof in relation to mistake, and analyse for application 9.4 Analyse strict and absolute liability offences with reference to case study material

Learning Outcomes


Details of Learning Activities

A range of learning activities are planned for this course including self-paced and collaborative classroom-based activities.

The self-paced activities will be delivered through various technology platforms and may include your contribution to wikis and discussion threads, reflective journals, quizzes and interactive sessions.

The collaborative classroom-based activities will include group discussions, group problem-solving activities and opportunities to practice your skills in a simulated/real workplace environment. We expect you to participate and contribute in all scheduled learning activities.




Teaching Schedule

Induction Session

Prior to training commencement a program level induction session will be conducted that comprises the following:

  • Program overview and requirements
  • MyRMIT/Blackboard
  • Overview of assessment requirements
  • Pre-Training Review including:
    • Recognition of Prior Learning and Credit Transfers
    • Assessment of current skills and knowledge
  • Competency/Grading Criteria
  • Plagiarism
  • Appeals
  • Extensions
  • Feedback
  • Privacy
  • Submission requirements
  • Resubmission policy
  • Where to get support
  • Student responsibilities 

 The Teaching Schedule for this course is as follows. (Please note that this schedule is subject to change)


Week Beginning



Week 1 – 6 Feb

The concept of crime & purposes of criminal law


Week 2 – 13 Feb

Criminal pre-trial and trial procedure and penalties


Week 3 – 20 Feb

The elements of murder


Week 4 – 27 Feb

Defences to murder


Week 5 – 6 Mar

Manslaughter and other unlawful killing


Week 6 – 13 Mar

Assault and related offences

Assessment Task 1 Due

Court Instructor assignment – Criminal Procedure, Penalties & Purpose

Week 7 - 20 Mar

Sexual offences


Week 8 – 27 Mar




Week 9 – 3 April


Assessment Task 2

Case Studies under open book test conditions

Week 10 – 10 April

(Includes mid semester break 13 – 19 April inclusive).

Theft continued

Other property offences


Week 11 – 24 April

Attempts, participants in crime


Week 12 – 1 May

General defences


Week 13 – 8May

Mental impairment and related mental states


Week 14 – 18 May



Week 15 – 22 May


Assessment Task 3

Case Studies under open book test conditions

Week 16 – 29 May

Resubmission Assessment Task 3






Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts


Other Resources

Recommended texts:-

  • Penny Crofts Criminal Law (Lexus Nexis Butterworths 5 ed. 2014)



Overview of Assessment

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit

In order to demonstrate competency in this unit, you must provide evidence of:

• the ability to explain the concept of crime and criminal law in society
• knowledge of Criminal Law relating to criminal procedures, substantive aspects of criminal offences as defined in legislation, and law reforms
• investigating criminal procedures and the possible penalties for a criminal offence
• analysing elements of criminal offences of manslaughter and murder
• assessing the available defences to particular offences
• analysing the key elements required for strict and absolute liability offences
• knowledge of applications of relevant sections of the Crimes Act in a range of case study materials

Context for assessment

Assessment must ensure:

• activities are related to a legal practice context
• activities are related to laws, regulations and procedures currently operating across the jurisdictions relevant to this qualification

You are advised that you are likely to be asked to personally demonstrate your assessment work to your teacher to ensure that the relevant competency standards are being met.


Feedback will be provided throughout the semester in class and/or online discussions. You are encouraged to ask and answer questions during class time and online sessions so that you can obtain feedback on your understanding of the concepts and issues being discussed.

You should take note of all feedback received and use this information to improve your learning effectiveness and final performance in the course.

Finally, you can email or arrange an appointment with your teacher to gain more feedback on your progress.

Assessment Tasks

Assessment Task 1 - Court Instructor Assignment (nominal weighting 20%) - Week 6

Assessment Task 2 - Case studies under open book conditions (nominal weighting 40%) - Week 9

Assessment Task 3 - Case studies under open book conditions (nominal weighting 40%) - Week 15

Assessment Matrix

Other Information

Submission Requirements

You should:

  • Ensure that you submit assessments on or before the due date.
  • Always retain a copy of your assessment tasks (both hard copy and soft copy).
  • Use a cover sheet that includes a declaration and statement of authorship when you submit work for assessment at RMIT University. You must complete, sign and submit a cover sheet with all work you submit for assessment, whether individual or group work. On the cover sheet you must declare that the work you are presenting for assessment is your own work. An assignment cover sheet for submission of each assessment task is available on Blackboard.
  • Include a footer (appearing on each page of your assessment) with your name, student number, assessment title, course code, course title and page numbers. For example, Kelly Hervey, 324567, Task 2, OHS2345C Ensure safe workplace, Page 1 of 10.

Late Submission Procedures

You are required to submit assessment items and/or ensure performance based assessment is completed by the due dates.

If you are prevented from submitting an assessment item on time, by circumstances outside your control, you may apply in advance to your teacher for an extension to the due date of up to seven calendar days. For more Information go to:

The application form may be obtained from:

Where an extension of greater than seven days is needed, you must apply for Special Consideration. Applications for Special Consideration must be submitted no later than two working days after the assessment task deadline or scheduled examination. For more Information go to:;ID=g43abm17hc9w

The application form may be obtained from:

Resubmissions (VE Programs):

You must satisfactorily complete all assessment tasks in order to achieve competency.

If an assessment task is assessed as not yet satisfactory, you will be allowed one resubmission opportunity only. Your teacher will provide feedback detailing what you need to do in order to satisfactorily complete that task, and will set a new deadline for the resubmission within the current semester.

If your resubmission is deemed to be not yet satisfactory then you must apply in writing to your Program Manager outlining the steps you will take to demonstrate competence in that course. Your submission will be considered by the Program Team and you will be advised of the outcome as soon as practical.

If your resubmission is deemed satisfactory then you may still achieve competency for the course, provided that all other assessment tasks are satisfactorily completed. Further, if this satisfactory resubmission is of a task that contributes to the overall grading of this course, then it shall only be entitled to receive a score that equates to 50% of the total marks allocated for that task.

Adjustments to Assessment

In certain circumstances students may be eligible for an assessment adjustment. For more information about the circumstances under which an adjustment to the assessment arrangements might be granted please access the following website:;ID=7usdbki1fjf31

Marking Guide (Competency)

You must demonstrate through your performance in the Course Assessment Tasks that you have all the required skills and knowledge as specified in the unit of competency (course) you are studying.

Your submitted assessments are the evidence used to determine if you have met all critical aspects of the assessments, and if any critical aspects have not been met, then you cannot be deemed competent in this course.

On each assessment task you will receive feedback against the competency requirements for that task, and the outcome of the task will be recorded as either satisfactory (all requirements have been met) or not yet satisfactory (one or more requirements has not yet been met).

Only when all assessment tasks have been assessed as satisfactory will you be deemed competent in this course.

Marking Guide (Grading)

This course is graded. However, only after achieving competency in this course will you receive a grade corresponding to your level of performance in the course. 

The reported Final Grade will be one of the following:


 Competent with High Distinction


 Competent with Distinction


 Competent with Credit


 Competency Achieved – Graded


 Not Yet Competent (all assessment tasks submitted)


 Did Not Submit (one or more assessment tasks not submitted)

Further details regarding the application of the grading criteria will be provided by your teacher.

Course Overview: Access Course Overview