LAW113 Criminal Law (8)

This subject introduces students to the general principles of substantive criminal law in NSW, the doctrines and rules that define criminal liability, and it examines these in their historical, contemporary, social and political context. This area of study includes a selection of substantive offences: the offences of dishonesty, unlawful homicides, and sexual and non-sexual non-fatal offences against the person. Students will examine the extended forms of criminal liability and the defence of criminal matters. Public policy implications and contemporary law reform innitiatives in respect of criminal defences will also be considered.


* Offering has a residential school. Please view following information for further details.

Session 1 (30)
Online *
Bathurst Campus
Session 2 (60)
Online *
Bathurst Campus
Session 3 (90)
Online *
Bathurst Campus

Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: LAW113. Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject Information

Grading System



One session


Centre for Law and Justice

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to demonstrate a broad understanding of the structure and rationale of New South Wales substantive criminal law that arise from statutes and common law
  • be able to identify and explain the relevant provisions of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW)
  • be able to identify and evaluate the historical, social, political, and ethical factors that impact upon our contemporary understanding of the operation of substantive criminal law
  • be able to plan and apply effective strategies in the research of substantive criminal law scenarios including offences and appropriate defences
  • be able to explain the effect of general doctrines of complicity and preparatory offences
  • be able to distinguish civil wrongs from criminal wrongs by defining crime and the criminalisation process within the Australian criminal context
  • be able to explain the impact of public policy and law reform


This subject will cover the following topics:
  • Criminalisation, defining crime and sources of Australian criminal law
  • Determining criminal responsibility: elements of criminal liability
  • Classification of crimes, strict liability and absolute offences, and the burden of proof
  • Non-fatal offences against the person: assault and aggravated assault, and sexual offences
  • Property offences: larceny, robbery, breaking and entering, and fraud and related offences
  • Extending criminal responsibility: attempt, conspiracy, complicity
  • Homicide
  • Defences: self-defence, provocation, duress and necessity, fitness to be tried
  • Mental state defences: intoxication, mental illness, substantial impairment by abnormality of mind and automatism
  • Legislation and contemporary criminal law reform

Indicative Assessment

The following table summarises the assessment tasks for the online offering of LAW113 in Session 3 2020. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated and can also differ to suit the mode of study (online or on campus).

Item Number
Value %
Multiple choice test
Preparation of legal advice
Irac problem analysis
Final exam

Residential School

This subject contains a 2 day Optional Residential School.

The 2-day residential school for this subject is optional. It will cover the seminar topics relevant to the subject with particular emphasis on relevant case law, precedents and legislation.

The information contained in the CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: May 2021. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.