MLJ703 - Criminal Law and Policy

Unit details

Note: You are seeing the 2021 view of this unit information. These details may no longer be current. [Go to the current version]

2021 unit information

Important Update:

Unit delivery will continue to be provided in line with the most current COVIDSafe health guidelines. This may include a mix of on-campus and online activities. To find out how you are impacted, please check your unit sites for announcements and updates. Unit sites open one week prior to the start of each Trimester/Semester.

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Last updated: 4 June 2021

Enrolment modes:Trimester 1: Cloud (online)
Trimester 2: Cloud (online)
Credit point(s):1
EFTSL value:0.125
Unit Chair:Trimester 1: Marilyn McMahon
Trimester 2: Marilyn McMahon
Cohort rule:

For M729 (Juris Doctor) students only



Incompatible with: Nil
Typical study commitment:

Students will on average spend 150 hours over the teaching period undertaking the teaching, learning and assessment activities for this unit.

Scheduled learning activities - cloud:

1 x 2.5h class (recordings provided) + 1.5h online seminar (live streamed and recordings provided)


This unit examines criminal law within its social and historical context, exploring how different conceptions of agency and autonomy have influenced constructions of criminal responsibility as well as the elements of various criminal offences. A number of different offences are covered and attention also is directed at alternative conceptions of these offences (what the law might be, particularly as addressed in contemporary law reform initiatives) as well as what the law currently is. Each topic is considered through an exposition of relevant principles or elements, followed by in-depth discussion of particularly significant law reform initiatives, policy debates and/or historical development.

ULO These are the Learning Outcomes (ULO) for this unit. At the completion of this unit, successful students can: Deakin Graduate Learning Outcomes

Explain and apply the general principles of criminal responsibility that govern the criminal law in Victoria.

GLO1: Discipline-specific knowledge and capabilities


Determine and apply the elements of selected offences in Victoria: murder, manslaughter, various forms of assault, rape, property offences, and public order offences.

GLO1: Discipline-specific knowledge and capabilities


Explain and apply the principles of law that determine liability for inchoate offences.

GLO1: Discipline-specific knowledge and capabilities


Analyse and compare the principles of law that govern the defences of self-defence, compulsion (duress, necessity and sudden emergency), mental impairment and intoxication.

GLO2: Communication
GLO4: Critical thinking
GLO5: Problem solving
GLO6: Self management


Critically analyse the elements of the types of defences examined.

GLO2: Communication
GLO3: Digital literacy
GLO4: Critical thinking
GLO5: Problem solving
GLO6: Self management

These Unit Learning Outcomes are applicable for all teaching periods throughout the year


Assessment Description Student output Grading and weighting
(% total mark for unit)
Indicative due week 
Assessment 1 (Individual) - Multiple Choice Test   20% Week 5
Assessment 2 (Individual) - Case Study 2000 words 20% Week 6
Examination 2 hours 60% Exam period

The assessment due weeks provided may change. The Unit Chair will clarify the exact assessment requirements, including the due date, at the start of the teaching period.

Learning Resource

The texts and reading list for the unit can be found on the University Library via the link below: MLJ703 Note: Select the relevant trimester reading list. Please note that a future teaching period's reading list may not be available until a month prior to the start of that teaching period so you may wish to use the relevant trimester's prior year reading list as a guide only.

Unit Fee Information

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