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The University of Southampton

LAWS3072 Youth Justice

Module Overview

Young people engage, and always have, in activity which is wrongful and harmful. How, as a liberal democratic society, should we respond to that behaviour? This is the central concern of this module. Through discussion of recent research, legislation and policy documents the module considers the present approach to youth justice in England Wales and draws upon theoretical and empirical scholarship, and some historical and comparative policy material, to subject that policy and practice to critical scrutiny.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • the concepts of youth and childhood in historical, sociological and legal discourse;
  • the nature, extent and aetiological theory in relation to youth crime;
  • the key legislative provisions governing the response to youth crime within the youth justice process;
  • the historical background to and political foundations of contemporary youth justice policy, and the popular and media discussion of that policy;
  • the role of the personnel within the youth justice process;
  • the roles of non-legal or non-criminal agencies in dealing with youth crime.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • construct arguments clearly and coherently in writing and/or orally through seminar discussion;
  • critically evaluate law, policy and procedure and appraise the impact of new law on the working practice of practitioners;
  • assess the importance of political principles and values and the relationship between law and policy;
  • demonstrate independence of mind in the presentation and defence of an argument, both orally and in writing.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • locate and analyse relevant legal, political and other primary and secondary source materials;
  • distinguish relevant from irrelevant materials;
  • identify and analyse key policy issues;
  • think critically, develop coherent arguments orally and/or in writing, communicate arguments to a group of peers and defend your position under challenge;
  • manage your time effectively.


- The nature and extent of youth crime - The aetiological explanations for youth crime - Historical, sociological and legal conceptions of childhood - Doli Incapax - Approaches to youth justice policy - The law and practice of diversion - The structure, personnel and legal powers of youth courts and Crown Courts in dealing with young offenders - Community sentences - Custodial sentences - Restorative Justice - Approaches to youth crime in comparative jurisdictions

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

This module is taught through weekly two-hour seminars. The emphasis in these seminars is on reflective and critical analysis and discussion of policy, law and practice in relation to each topic covered on the syllabus. This may take the form of small group discussions, as well as structured and guided open forum discussion. Where appropriate you are required to engage in role play exercises in order to appraise existing law and policy and design new proposals from a variety of political, policy-maker and practitioner perspectives. You are provided with module materials using Blackboard. These materials include a module outline, a statement of the learning outcomes, a summary of recent year's results and a statement explaining and responding to the feedback from the previous year's students. In addition each weekly seminar has a document explaining the topic to be discussed, a brief outline of the critical issues that arise within that topic and a set of questions to consider on the topic and discussion or role play tasks that you should prepare for, to be completed in the seminar. You are required to research the topic using a variety of authoritative academic and official sources from both the library and the internet. Prescribed reading lists are not provided but a core text is recommended which you are advised to use as a starting point for their research. Preparation for and participation in seminars will develop: - Your knowledge, understanding and critical evaluation of law, policy and theoretical principles in the field of youth crime and youth justice - Your ability to construct arguments clearly and coherently orally through seminar discussion - Your ability to demonstrate independence of mind in the oral presentation and defence of an argument - Your ability to work in groups as a participant who contributes effectively to the group's task. - Your ability to effectively manage your time

Wider reading or practice20
Preparation for scheduled sessions60
Completion of assessment task50
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

J. Muncie. Youth and Crime. 

Resources. A core text is not recommended for this module (although many readings in the early part of the module are taken from John Muncie's text, Youth and Crime, Sage). A module handbook and Blackboard site is provided with key resources for each seminar. You are also expected to use the library and the internet to research beyond these resources for particular exercises. This research will include accessing official statistics and quantitative research data on youth crime and justice, official reports, consultation papers and white papers from government websites and/or the Ford Collection, as well as reading academic journal articles and scholarly texts in the subject.





MethodPercentage contribution
Exam  (2 hours) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Exam  (2 hours) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Exam  (2 hours) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Books and Stationery equipment

Recommended texts for this module may be available in limited supply in the University Library and students may wish to purchase the mandatory/additional reading text as appropriate.

Recommended texts for this module may be available in limited supply in the University Library and students may wish to purchase reading texts as appropriate.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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