The University of Southampton
Courses

LAWS3089 Miscarriages of Justice

Module Overview

The Miscarriages of Justice module focuses on specific problems concerning the delivery of justice in England and Wales, including comparative analysis with Scotland, USA and Canada, and examines aspects of the criminal justice system relating to the nature, extent and causes of miscarriages of justice, highlighting their impact upon victims.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

The module aims to provide you with a knowledge and understanding of the meaning and origins of ‘miscarriage of justice’ and a critical awareness of its implications within a common law system that attempts to achieve a balance between ‘due process’ and ‘crime control’.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

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

  • Criminal justice in England and Wales, including comparative analysis with Scotland, USA and Canada
  • The meaning and origins of the term ‘miscarriage of justice’
  • The nature, extent and causes of miscarriages of justice and their impact upon victims
  • Your critical awareness of its implications within a common law system that attempts to achieve a balance between ‘due process’ and ‘crime control’.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Describe ‘due process’ and ‘crime control’ models of justice, the principles and priorities that guide their operations on the criminal justice process and the impact of their conflicting pressures on prosecution outcomes
  • Explain the role of the police in the construction of a case and collection of evidence
  • Identify the key features of recent and past cases of miscarriage of justice and the procedures for reviewing alleged or suspected miscarriages of justice
  • Describe how these impact upon victims
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Deploy analytic and evaluative skills in relation to complex situations
  • Construct a coherent and reasoned argument in writing
  • Communicate reasoned arguments effectively within a group
  • Exercise initiative and responsibility to conduct a piece of independent research
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate critical awareness of the difficulties associated with the exercise of due process protections
  • Evaluate the roles of the police and prosecution authorities, the Home Office and the Court of Appeal in miscarriage of justices cases
  • Critically assess the function and effectiveness of the Criminal Cases Review Commission
  • Analyse current and past cases of miscarriage of justice
  • Appreciate the significance of the impact of miscarriages of justice on victims

Syllabus

The topics covered in the module will include: • the nature and extent of miscarriages of justice, • case studies and case histories • theoretical perspectives on criminal justice systems in the UK • presumptions of guilt or innocence • the role of the police • the role of the forensic science service • the role of the Criminal Cases Review Commission • the role of the media • campaigns and campaigning organisations • comparative analysis with other jurisdictions

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include: • lectures • seminars which will give you the opportunity to construct a coherent and reasoned argument orally • tutorials Learning activities include: • discussion • essay writing • feedback on assignments • watching films and documentaries Assessment will comprise a portfolio of work (total 5,000 words) focusing on a specific case of miscarriage of justice. The portfolio will be submitted at the end of the teaching period.

TypeHours
Wider reading or practice10
Completion of assessment task50
Preparation for scheduled sessions64
Tutorial4
Lecture22
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Huff, C. R., Killas, M., eds (2008). Wrongful Conviction: International Perspectives on Miscarriages of Justice. 

Nobles, R., Schiff, D. (2000). Understanding Miscarriages of Justice. 

Naughton, M (2009). The Criminal Cases review Commission: Hope for the Innocent. 

Walker, C (1999). Miscarriages of Justice: A Review of ‘Justice in Error’. 

Naughton, M (2007). Rethinking Miscarriages of Justice: Beyond the Tip of thje Iceberg. 

Ogletree, C. J., Sarat, A.. (2009). When Law Fails: Making Sense of Miscarriages of Justice. 

Assessment

Formative

Essay

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Portfolio  (5000 words) 100%

Repeat

MethodPercentage contribution
Portfolio  (5000 words) 100%

Referral

MethodPercentage contribution
Portfolio  (5000 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Costs

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:

Textbooks

As there is no set text for this module, you will not have to buy any of the books listed. They will be available via the Library and/or the Blackboard pages for this module.

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 www.calendar.soton.ac.uk.

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