LW7127 - Criminal Justice and Forensic Science

What will I learn on this module?

This module will introduce you to theories of justice, principles of criminal law, and criminal justice theory as well as practice. It will proceed to critically examine the criminal process of England and Wales, and in particular, the institutions of criminal justice and forensic science. The module will finish with a study of social and ethical implications of the criminal process, and international trends. On completion of this module, you should be able to:
• analyse and critically discuss criminal justice processes with respect to the cultures and ethics of the criminal law;
• demonstrate knowledge and understanding of contemporary debates in theoretical and empirical literature about the relevant criminal justice and forensic institutions and their practices which form part of the forensic processes relevant to criminal justice so that they can state policies and laws with accuracy;
• have an independent ability to further their knowledge about, and research into, the issues arising from the topics and themes and to write about these issues in a structured and academic way.
Module topics outline

1. Introduction
2. Justice and principles of criminal law
3. Criminal justice theory
4. Criminal justice – institutions and the ‘system’.
a. The Police and ‘policing’
b. Prosecution and the courts
c. Reforming the CJS.
5. Forensic Science and the Criminal Justice System
a. Introduction to Forensic Process
b. What is/ are forensic science(s)? Who are forensic scientists?
c. The Forensic Science ‘marketplace’
6. The Criminal Investigation
a. Forensic Science and Criminal Investigation.
b. Forensic Identification Technologies & Processes
c. Police powers
7. DNA, Fingerprints and Identification
a. Fingerprints and DNA in the ‘Fight Against Crime’
b. Developments in DNA science & dactyloscopy
c. Resolving DNA controversies & reforming fingerprinting
8. Forensic Databases
a. Development of Forensic Identity Databases
b. Other forensic databases
9. Medical Aspects of the Forensic Process
a. Forensic Medical Examiners ('police surgeons')
b. Forensic pathologists
c. Coroners (pre and post-Shipman).
10. Criminal Appeals & Miscarriages of Justice
a. Forensic science as cause of miscarriages
b. DNA and Exonerating the Innocent
c. The Regulation of Forensic science
11. International Trends in Criminal Justice and Forensic Science
a. The international utility of forensic identification
b. International ‘standards’ & exchange
c. Trans-national forensic databases: The Future?
12. Criminal Justice and Forensic Science: Social and Ethical Issues
a. Criminalisation
b. The surveillance State
c. Forensic Science and Individual Rights
d. Ethical controversies

How will I learn on this module?

You will achieve your learning through a blend of lectures, workshops underpinned by tutor-guided and student-independent learning. The tutors will use historical and current developments, case law and academic writing to give context to core principles. You will then be learning through a series of different delivery styles which will include traditional taught lectures to cover theoretical / procedural aspects of the curriculum, supplemented with workshop sessions where you will be a more active learner, making connections between theory / procedure in practice. Additional learning strategies utilised throughout the module include practical and online exercises. There will be directed independent learning to go beyond the lecture content. The module eLearning Portal (eLP) site contains a module handbook outlining the content of the module. Lecture slides, digital lecture recordings and workshop exercises will also be made available on the eLP site. Formative feedback will be provided to you on knowledge and understanding of module content as well as a number of opportunities to engage with the method of assessment used in the module.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

The members of staff who teach on this module have significant research experience in this area. As such, they will provide academic support where necessary. All lectures will be recorded and made available to students to aid in learning and understanding. You will be encouraged to use this resource to develop your appreciation of the interrelated nature of the disparate areas of law studied as part of the module.The University is well-placed to support you in learning and research with an excellent library and teaching facilities, access to on-line legal databases and resources and appropriate software. This module will be designed and managed by your designated Module Tutor who will be responsible for guiding you in your engagement and learning on the module. All relevant materials and instructions including notes for lectures and workshops will be accessible on-line through the module eLP site. The site is maintained by your Module Tutor, who will also provide updates on issues of current legal significance as appropriate. Academic support is also available through formative feedback during timetabled sessions, on assignments and through the module handbook which details the delivery structure and any University requirements. At programme level you will be supported by the Programme Leader who will provide pastoral support throughout the module and the programme as a whole. Assessment feedback will also be provided to allow you to understand how you performed and how you can build on this performance in subsequent assessments within your programme.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
By the end of the module you should be able to:
• Critically evaluate the competing theories explaining and analysing different criminal justice practices, and how institutions form the criminal justice ‘system’;
• Provide a critical evaluation of how forensic science is organised in the UK and social and ethical implications of the use of forensic science.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
By the end of the module you should be able to:
• Communicate your critique and analysis of the criminal justice system and forensic science accurately.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):

By the end of the module you should have developed the ability to:
• Critically evaluate the different approaches to criminal justice and how forensic science and criminal justice practice can impact upon society in both a global and cultural context where appropriate.

• Critically evaluate and apply key principles of criminal law and criminal justice.

How will I be assessed?

Formative assessment
There will be practical exercises during the workshops, covering different skills in the module, giving students opportunity to practice ahead of the final presentation and essay.

Summative assessment

Summative Assessment will be undertaken on an individual basis by way of two assignments. The first will assess by oral coursework with a maximum time limit of 10 minutes. This assessment will take the form of an oral presentation of a current issue in Criminal Justice and Forensics. It will be designed to facilitate examination of specific aspects of relevant law and related legal research.

The second assessment will be by way of a 1500-word evaluative commentary. This will build upon the oral assessment and provide you with the opportunity to add additional academic comment. Assessment criteria will be provided to enable you to understand what is expected of you and how you will be judged on your performance.

You will be provided with appropriate written or oral feedback (as appropriate), and, as part of your reflective development, such feedback can be utilised in the preparation of subsequent module assessments on the programme.

Pre-requisite(s)

NA

Co-requisite(s)

NA

Module abstract

This module will introduce students to theories of justice, principles of criminal law, and criminal justice theory as well as practice. It will proceed to critically examine the criminal process of England and Wales, and in particular, the institutions of criminal justice and forensic science. The module will finish with a study of social and ethical implications of the criminal process, and international trends. On completion of this module, students will be able to analyse and critically discuss criminal justice processes with respect to the cultures and ethics of the criminal law. They will demonstrate knowledge and understanding of contemporary debates in theoretical and empirical literature about the relevant criminal justice and forensic institutions and their practices which form part of the forensic processes relevant to criminal justice so that they can state policies and laws with accuracy.

Course info

Credits 20

Level of Study Postgraduate

Mode of Study 1 year Full Time

Department Northumbria Law School

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2022

Fee Information

Module Information

All information on this course page is accurate at the time of viewing.

Our Campus based courses starting in 2022 and 2023 will be delivered on-campus with supporting online learning content. We continue to monitor government and local authority guidance in relation to Covid-19 and we are ready and able to adjust the delivery of our education accordingly to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff.

On-campus contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with any additional restrictions, which may be imposed by the Government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors. This could potentially mean increased or fully online delivery, should such restrictions on in-person contact time be required.

 

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