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 This course introduces students to fundamental aspects of criminal justice and process. Woven through the course is a critical examination of the interaction between the criminal justice system and the criminal law: specifically, that application of the law is shaped by and dependent on decisions made by criminal justice actors including police, prosecutors and judicial officers. Specific areas of focus include: why some activities are criminalised and others not; the use and misuse of discretion; the impact of the reliance on summary justice; the significance of pre-trial processes such as search, arrest and bail; and the over-representation of Indigenous people and other vulnerable groups.

Crime and the Criminal Process also introduces the doctrinal building blocks of criminal law, and applies these principles to a number of key statutory offences such as public order offences and drugs offences which illustrate the process themes above. The impact of public policy and law reform is an important underlying theme. 

Main Topics

  • Criminalisation, over-criminalisation and defining crime
  • Criminal process, including police powers and pre-trial process
  • Components of criminal offences: physical and mental elements
  • Drugs (NSW only), including harm minimisation policies and incursions into general principles of criminal law
  • Public order offenses
Faculty Faculty of Law
Study Level


Offering Terms

Term 1, Term 2



Indicative contact hours


Conditions for Enrolment

Course Outline

To access course outline, please visit:


Pre-2019 Handbook Editions

Access past handbook editions (2018 and prior)

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