LA0700 - Criminal Litigation - General Practice Route

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SYNOPSIS

This module is one of the electives available to students during Stage 2 of the Legal Practice Course and forms part of the General Practice Route elective group.

The content of this module covers some of the issues relevant to family and child matters.
The aim of this module is to provide students with an appreciation of the legal and practical issues which form the foundation of family practice, with particular emphasis on the breakdown of relationships and dealing with the consequences.. The legal skills of negotiating, drafting and practical research are also further developed in a context.

The module is delivered by a combination of large group sessions, small group sessions, directed and independent learning. The module is assessed by examination.

INDICATIVE READING LIST OR OTHER LEARNING RESOURCES

READING

Main Text
Philip Plowden: Criminal Law in Practice, Practical Text Series.

Supplementary Reading
Blackstone’s Criminal Practice, Oxford University Press.
Archbold Criminal Pleading, Evidence and Practice, Sweet and Maxwell.
Ed Cape,
Criminal procedure Rules

ELEARNING PORTAL SITE AND MATERIALS

A range of materials to support both large and small group sessions and to facilitate directed learning will be provided via the Criminal law e-learning portal site.

OUTLINE SYLLABUS

1. Police Station
An introduction to PACE; powers of stop and search, review and detention limits, Codes of Conduct; police station advice, interview post- interview procedures; professional conduct issues which may arise; the role of the custody officer and the Crown Prosecution Service representative at the police station; the police station representative accreditation schemes and funding options for clients.
2. Court procedure
The Criminal Procedure Rules, their overriding objective and their application; the court’s role in the litigation process, case management hearings and the court’s powers and duties therein; the duty solicitor scheme.
3. Funding
An introduction into the funding options for a client in the criminal courts, the procedure and steps for applying for a representation order, drafting the relevant forms and documentation for applying for a representation order, making an oral application for funding.
4. Preliminary Matters
Preliminary and pre-trial hearings and applications; the principles of bail and making a contested bail application; case management by the court; mode of trial, the practical and tactical considerations involved and the procedure; committal hearings.
5. Trial
An introduction to summary trial and trial on indictment; preparation and conduct of the trial; the disclosure regime; witness attendance and preparation; representing your client and professional conduct issues.
6. Sentencing
Identifying and understanding the range of sentences available to the Magistrates’ and Crown courts; advising the client of likely sentence on guilty plea and on conviction; the courts powers and considerations when passing sentence; preparing for mitigation and making a mitigation speech; statutory credit for a guilty plea; dealing with prosecution costs.
7. Evidence
Identifying evidential issues that may arise; preserving evidence for trial; admissibility and exclusion of evidence; hearsay evidence; confession evidence; character evidence; reliability and credibility of witnesses; identification evidence.

AIMS OF MODULE

To enable students to develop knowledge and understanding of the key principles of criminal litigation and evidence The subject matter will be contextualised by using realistic ‘case study’ scenarios and, where possible, simulated clinical and experiential learning.

To provide students with exposure to problem based learning and to develop students’ oral communication, advocacy, interviewing skills, case analysis and problem solving skills, their ability to locate and make effective use of legal source materials, their awareness of professional ethics issues, their understanding of how lawyers apply legal rules in practice and their appreciation of legal professionalism.

To enable students to understand the nature of criminal litigation and to be able to identify the critical steps in the process of litigation.
To demonstrate an understanding of the Criminal Procedure Rules, their overriding objective and their application within proceedings.

To enable students to develop an awareness and understanding of the procedure for effective case analysis and develop the ability to relate the central legal and factual issues in a case to one another. To identify and analyse the elements of relevant criminal charges, evidence to support propositions of fact and assess the strengths and weaknesses of each side’s case.

To develop awareness and understanding of the procedure for representation at the police station, the police station representative accreditation schemes, the role of the CPS and funding.

To develop the principles and techniques of the skills of interviewing and advising. Be able to plan, prepare and identify the objectives of the interview, understand how to conduct an effective interview, to use appropriate questioning techniques and establish a professional relationship.
To be able to further advise the client on relevant courses of action highlighting the legal and non-legal consequences thereof.

To enable students to obtain knowledge and understanding of the steps involved in making various pre-trial applications and hearings, preparing for trials in both the magistrates’ and Crown courts and funding.

To develop awareness and understanding of the range of sentences available and advise to the client accordingly.

To prepare students for the work they may have to undertake in a criminal law seat during a training contract.

LEARNING OUTCOMES

On completion of the module, students should be able to:

• understand the nature of criminal litigation

• identify the critical steps in the process of litigation

• use their legal knowledge, skills, and procedures appropriate to clients in a criminal matter

• identify the client’s goals and alternative means of achieving those goals, and deal appropriately with client care;

• investigate and identify the relevant facts, research and identify the relevant legal issues, and advise the client on legal consequences;

• identify the overall nature of the matter, then plan and progress that matter through a series of steps and decisions including, where appropriate, drafting documentation;

• recognise and act within the rules of professional conduct;

• identify the client’s reasonable expectations as to quality and timeliness of service.

In particular:

Element 1: Case Analysis

Students should be able to analyse factual material, identify the legal context in which factual issues arise, relate the central legal and factual issues to each other and be able to:

1. identify the elements of selected causes of action and criminal charges

2. identify, analyse and, if necessary, research the propositions of fact going to the elements and be able to identify, analyse, secure and preserve evidence to support propositions of fact

3. identify, analyse and advise on the admissibility and relevance of evidence and assess the strengths and weaknesses of each side’s case including, where appropriate, the opponent’s evidence.

Element 5: Criminal Law and Practice

1. demonstrate an understanding of the Criminal procedure Rules, their overriding objective, and their application

2. demonstrate an understanding of the court’s role in the litigation process, in particular the court’s case management powers and duties

3. demonstrate an awareness of police station representative accreditation schemes, and the court duty solicitor scheme

4. explain the custody, review and detention limits under PACE and the role of the custody officer

5. identify the steps involved in making an application for a representation order

6. identify the steps involved in making or contesting a bail application

7. identify the practical and tactical considerations involved in determining the mode of trial, including an awareness of the range of sentences available , and advise the client accordingly

8. assist in the preparation and conduct of a summary trial, committal proceedings and a trial on indictment.

Interviewing and Advising

On completion of this area, students should demonstrate an understanding of the principles and techniques of the skills of interviewing and advising.

Element 1: Interviewing

Students should:

1. be able to choose an appropriate way to obtain relevant information

2. be able to plan, prepare for and identify the objectives of an interview

3. understand how to conduct an effective interview that elicits the relevant information, allows the client to explain any concerns, anticipates the client’s questions and has clear outcomes

4. be able to listen actively and use appropriate questioning techniques

5. be able to establish a professional relationship.

Element 2: Advice and follow up

Students should be able to:

1. advise the client taking into account the client’s objectives, priorities and constraints and addressing all the relevant factual, practical and legal issues.

2. identify possible courses of action, the legal and non-legal consequences of a course of action (including the costs, benefits and risks) and assist the client in reaching a decision

3. identify any further decisions to be made or steps to be taken and manage the client’s expectations including likely outcome and timescales

4. accurately record an interview, advice given orally, decisions made by the client and follow-up steps and, where appropriate, confirm instructions in each case in accordance with the outcomes for Writing

5. Identify the circumstances in which to take instructions or seek advice from a supervising solicitor.

PREREQUSITES

none

COREQUISITES

NONE

DISTANCE LEARNING DELIVERY

N/A

LEARNING AND TEACHING STRATEGY

The module will be delivered through a combination of large and small group sessions, directed learning and independent learning.

The large group sessions will be delivered to the entire module cohort and will be used in part to introduce students to the major principles of each topic. They will place these principles in context by examining them against relevant factual scenarios. Where available, Turning Point will also be used to develop the students’ factual analysis and problem solving skills. The aims of the large group sessions will be to:

• Give an overview of the module area;
• To prioritise learning points within a topic;
• To explain, emphasis and demonstrate, with examples, substantive or procedural points within a particular transactional context;
• To focus on areas within the module that pose particular difficulties and require further explanation or examples;
• To encourage students to consider the module from a practical perspective as they will do later in their training contracts.

The small group sessions (which will consist of between 16-20 students), will, in conjunction with directed and independent learning, expand on the material covered in the large group sessions with emphasis on the use of practical scenarios as the basis for relevant skills based and interactive sessions to apply that material to a scenario. The aims of the small group sessions will be to:

Develop areas introduced in the large group sessions and in the small group session preparation;
Develop problem-solving and other legal skills;
Promote intellectual inquiry;
Implement knowledge in a practical way to solve clients’ legal problems;
Develop teamwork and both collective and individual presentation skills.

Students will be given directed learning which will both expand on the materials provided in the large group sessions and cover specific topics not dealt with in those sessions. This will be supported by formative self test and multiple choice questions. Students will also be expected to carry out independent learning to both expand on materials covered in large group sessions and directed learning and to prepare for the tasks in the small group sessions.

Experiential learning is prevalent in the simulated practice exercises that take place in the small group sessions.

ASSESSMENT STRATEGY

The module has an oral assessment which is not marked anonymously

a Summative assessment and rationale for tasks

Summative assessment for criminal litigation will be provided by examination made up of a one half hour closed book multiple choice paper plus a one and a half hour open book practical paper based on advance documents. The use of advance documents allows the subject team greater opportunity to test knowledge and application in the examination and allows greater use of realistic legal scenarios.

Summative assessment for interviewing and advising will be by way of live interviewing exercise. The students will be provided with advance documentation based on a realistic case scenario and will have to prepare and then conduct a live interview which will be recorded for marking purposes.


b. Additional formative assessment – detail of process and rationale

Formative assessment will be provided by a combination of self test questions and multiple choice questions which students will complete through the module elearning portal site and in small group sessions. Students will also have the opportunity to sit a mock examination paper.

c. Indication of how students will get feedback and how this will support their learning.

Formative assessment for interviewing and advising will be provided during small group sessions. In addition, students will carry out a formal practice interview which will be recorded on DVD, peer reviewed and then reviewed by a member of staff who gives individual feedback on each student.

The multiple choice questions are undertaken in a small group session and feedback given during this session. Detailed answers to the self test questions will be available on the e-learning portal site and feedback on the mock examination will be given via the e-learning portal site and in a large group session.

Feedback on interviewing and advising will be given on an ongoing individual basis and as an integral part of small group sessions.

IMPLICATIONS FOR CHOICE

NONE

Course info

Credits 0

Level of Study Postgraduate

Mode of Study 1 year full-time
1 other options available

Department Northumbria Law School

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2020

Fee Information

Module Information

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