Subject details

At the completion of this subject you will be able to:

  1. understand some major themes in the history of the crime and the law from the earliest times to the present;
  2. engage systematically and critically with the complex relations between developments in the law and legal system and broader political, social economic and cultural change;
  3. demonstrate a general capacity for research, analysis of evidence, reasoned argument, clear exposition, and sound judgement;
  4. progress, through an informed and disciplined reflection on the past, to a richer and deeper understanding of the present.
  • Topics
    • Anglo-Saxon Origins of English Criminal Law
    • Legal Developments after the Norman Conquest of 1066
    • Torture and the Emergence of the Jury Trial
    • Social Control, Witches and Moral Panic in England during the 16th and 17th Centuries
    • Crime and Criminals in the 18th Century
    • The 'Bloody Code' and Capital Punishment in 18th Century Britain
    • Crime and Convict Transportation
    • Crime and Criminals in the 19th Century
    • The Rise of the Prison
    • Policing in the 19th Century
    • Identifying Criminals in the 19th Century
  • Study resources
    • Instructional Methods
      • Chat Rooms
      • Disscusion forum/Discussion Board
      • Online assignment submission
      • Overview Notes
    • Online Materials
      • Resources and Links
      • Printable format materials
      • Online Assessment

Entry Requirements


Note: Level 3 subjects normally assume a moderate level of prior knowledge in this area, eg from studying related Level 1 and 2 subjects or other relevant experience.

Special requirements

No special requirements

This subject examines the incidence of crime, the development of the law and criminal justice processes in response to crime, and the means of punishment to deal with crime. Covering the period from the Middle Ages to the end of the nineteenth century, the focus will be mainly on Europe and the ways in which crime impacted on communities, how the meaning of criminality shifted over time, and the agencies for change in dealing with criminals.

  • Assignment 1 - Essay 1 (30%)
  • Assignment 2 - Essay 2 (40%)
  • Assignment 3 - Online Discussion (30%)

Textbooks are subject to change within the academic year. Students are advised to purchase their books no earlier than one to two months before the start of a subject.

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