JST496 Fire-Setting Behaviour, Legal Issues and Investigative Practice (8)


This subject focuses on investigative practice during and after fire origin and cause determination. Understanding fire-setting behaviour is important when identifying strategies for investigation. This subject will equip students with a foundational understanding of the psychology of fire-setting behaviour. Once an origin and cause determination has been made, fire investigators must be prepared to make a legal defence of their findings; this involves not only becoming familiar with court processes and procedures within their own jurisdiction, but also being aware of what the investigator is legally able to accomplish with their investigation.

+ Subject Availability Modes and Location

Session 1
DistanceManly Campus
Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: JST496
Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject information

Duration Grading System School:
One sessionHD/FLAustralian Graduate School of Policing and Security

Enrolment restrictions

Limited to students enrolled Fire Investigation, however students demonstrating a connection with fire services (necessary for the completion of assessment tasks) may apply to the course coordinator.
Incompatible subject(s)
JST416 JST417

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to demonstrate an understanding of the psychological concepts in the behaviour of fire setters
  • be able to demonstrate the ability to recognise a range of fire setting behaviours and think critically about the impact of this in the investigation
  • be able to demonstrate an understanding of legal powers available to fire investigators
  • be able to review, analyse, consolidate and synthesise coronial, criminal and civil law as it applies to fire investigation
  • be able to transfer complex knowledge and theoretical justification to a range of stakeholder audiences


The subject will cover the following topics:
  • General introduction to arson and fire-setting
  • Arson and fire-setting sub groups
  • Linking fire investigation strategies with fire-setting motivations
  • Legal issues for fire investigators
  • Investigating fraudulent fires and sources of evidence
  • Professional conduct for investigators
  • Photography and note-taking
  • Ethical issues involved in report writing


The information contained in the 2016 CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: 06 September 2016. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.