The Teaching of Criminal Law: The pedagogical imperatives, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Teaching of Criminal Law

The pedagogical imperatives, 1st Edition

Edited by Kris Gledhill, Ben Livings


240 pages

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The Teaching of Criminal Law provides the first considered discussion of the pedagogy that should inform the teaching of criminal law. It originates from a survey of criminal law courses in different parts of the English-speaking world which showed significant similarity across countries and over time. It also showed that many aspects of substantive law are neglected. This prompted the question of whether any real consideration had been given to criminal law course design. This book seeks to provide a critical mass of thought on how to secure an understanding of substantive criminal law, by examining the course content that best illustrates the thought process of a criminal lawyer, by presenting innovative approaches for securing active learning by students, and by demonstrating how criminal law can secure other worthwhile graduate attributes by introducing wider contexts.

This edited collection brings together contributions from academic teachers of criminal law from Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and Ireland who have considered issues of course design and often implemented them. Together, they examine several innovative approaches to the teaching of criminal law that have been adopted in a number of law schools around the world, both in teaching methodology and substantive content. The authors offer numerous suggestions for the design of a criminal law course that will ensure students gain useful insights into criminal law and its role in society.

This book helps fill the gap in research into criminal law pedagogy and demonstrates that there are alternative ways of delivering this core part of the law degree. As such, this book will be of key interest to researchers, academics and lecturers in the fields of criminal law, pedagogy and teaching methods.


'We can lament the lingering influence of ‘old school’ doctrine-focused criminal law teaching or we can articulate better ways to teach and study criminal law. The contributors to this fine collection are to be congratulated for taking the latter more constructive path. Developing curricula that extend beyond the traditional ‘general principles + homicide + theft’ formula, refusing to artificially extract criminal law rules from the practical and procedures by which they are operationalised, taking historical, cultural, political, economic and other contextual factors seriously, valuing Indigenous and feminist perspectives and insights, employing problem-based learning – it is heartening to read that these and other exciting approaches are well on the way to becoming the ‘new normal’ in criminal law teaching.'

Luke McNamara, Professor, Faculty of Law, UNSW & co-author of D Brown et al, Criminal Laws: Materials and Commentary on Criminal Law and Process of New South Wales (Federation Press, 6th ed, 2015)

Table of Contents

1. Introduction Kris Gledhill and Ben Livings

2. Building Block or Stumbling Block? Teaching Actus Reus and Mens Rea in Criminal Law Fiona Donson and Catherine O’Sullivan

3. Teaching the Elements of Crimes John Child

4. Enhancing Interactivity in the Teaching of Criminal Law: Using Response Technology in the Lecture Theatre Kevin J Brown and Colin RG Murray

5. Using Problem-Based Learning to Enhance the Study of Criminal Law Ben Fitzpatrick

6. Turning Criminal Law Upside Down Jo Boylan-Kemp and Rebecca Huxley-Binns

7. Criminal Law Pedagogy and the Australian State Codes Thomas Crofts and Stella Tarrant

8. Teaching Criminal Law as Statutory Interpretation Jeremy Gans

9. Shaking the Foundations: Criminal Law as a Means of Critiquing the Assumptions of the Centrality of Doctrine in Law Alex Steel

10. The Challenges and Benefits of Integrating Criminal Law, Litigation and Evidence Adam Jackson and Kevin Kerrigan

11. ‘Crime and the Criminal Process’: Challenging Traditions, Breaking Boundaries Phil Scraton and John Stannard

12. Context and Connection Ben Livings

13. Teaching and Learning Criminal Law ‘in Context’: Taking ‘Context’ Seriously Arlie Loughnan

14. Teaching Indigenous and Minority Students and Perspectives in Criminal Law Khylee Quince

15. Introducing Feminist Legal Jurisprudence through the Teaching of Criminal Law Julia Tolmie

16. Choice Kris Gledhill

17. The Absence of Regulatory Crime from the Criminal Law Curriculum Shane Kilcommins, Susan Leahy and Eimear Spain

18. Conclusion: Looking to the future Kris Gledhill and Ben Livings

About the Editors

Kris Gledhill is Associate Professor at AUT Law School, Auckland, New Zealand.

Ben Livings is Senior Lecturer at the Law School of the University of New England in New South Wales, Australia.

About the Series

Legal Pedagogy

This series consists of high-quality monographs that explore best practice in the teaching of all areas of law, whilst addressing wider questions about legal education more generally. With contributions from respected academics around the world, this series explores innovative thinking and practice within the context of a generally conservative branch of academia, with the aim of promoting discussion as to how best to teach the various aspects of the law degree and ensure the ongoing validity of the law degree as a whole. Individual books within the series will focus on specific areas of law and will discuss questions such as: could there be more variety in teaching methods and curriculum design? What is the role for more practical courses? Should students be offered law degrees with specialisations, or with an emphasis on the role of law in society?

The books in this series will be of great interest to academics, researchers and postgraduates in the fields of law and education, as well as teachers of law who may be interested in reviving curricula and need a prompt in that direction. In addition, the legal profession, and in particular those who regulate entry into the profession, will find much to interest them within the series.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Educational Policy & Reform / General
LAW / Criminal Law / General