Credit points: 15

Subject outline

This subject examines the fundamentals of criminal law in the American legal system. At the outset, we will explore questions of what should be criminalized, why we should punish certain defendants, and how to ensure that punishments are proportionate to the crime. The subject will then review the critical issue of mens rea, focusing on whether defendants can be held liable regardless of their criminal intent, or whether negligence, purposefulness, or some other mental state should be required. Thereafter, the subject will analyse the technical elements and real-world realities of some of the most common criminal offenses in the United States, specifically murder, manslaughter, rape, assault, burglary, conspiracy, and driving while intoxicated. Finally, once the elements of a criminal offense have been established, we will review the major defences to criminal liability, such as self-defence, necessity, duress, intoxication, and insanity.

FacultyFaculty of Business, Economics and Law

Credit points15

Subject Co-ordinatorGordon Walker

Available to Study Abroad StudentsYes

Subject year levelYear Level 5 - Masters

Exchange StudentsYes

Subject particulars

Subject rules



Incompatible subjectsN/A

Equivalent subjectsN/A

Special conditionsN/A

Subject options

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Start date between: and    Key dates

Melbourne, 2014, Week 21-22, Day


Online enrolmentNo

Maximum enrolment sizeN/A

Enrolment information

Subject Instance Co-ordinatorGordon Walker

Class requirements

Lecture/Workshop Week: 21 - 22
Five 8.0 hours lecture/workshop per study period on weekdays during the day from week 21 to week 22 and delivered via face-to-face.


Assessment elementComments%
class participation10
one 6,000-7,000-word take-home examination90