Substantive Criminal Law
Full course description
Although every (European) country has its legal culture, and its own criminal law, each system may be understood as a ‘local’ answer to some ‘universal’ questions that constitute the foundation of criminal law. Criminal law deals with similar subjects and thus more or less the same issues internationally. That’s why it is necessary to cross borders to see what kind of solutions other legal systems have to offer for present and future problems. The main objective of this course is therefore to get acquainted with the elementary concepts of the so-called general part of substantive criminal law, and the main differences and similarities between several European legal systems, like the common law system of England and Wales and the civil law system of the Netherlands and Germany. The main concepts that will be studied are: principles of criminalisation, the objective and subjective elements of an offence (actus reus and mens rea), justifications and excuses, inchoate offences, modes of participation, and corporate criminal liability This seven week course will combine seven sessions of group tutorials. According to the philosophy of problem-based learning, tutorial meetings shall be used to explore various concepts of substantive criminal law in different countries on the basis of some reading assignments, presentations and case studies. Using comparative literature students are asked to answer given background questions and specific questions on the case studies.
This obligatory course is a 4th period course of the first Bachelor year of the ELS-ET.
The object of this course is to identify various principles, rules and concepts of the so-called general part of substantive criminal law by using a conceptual and comparative methodology. Upon completion of this course, the student must be able to
- analyze and understand the main concepts and rules of substantive criminal law;
- to understand and compare on an introductory level the main differences and similarities of the basic criminal liability concepts of three major European legal systems, i.e. Netherlands, Germany and the common law system of England and Wales;
- to critically reflect on some basic philosophical aspects and (recent) historical developments related to principles of criminalisation and rules of criminal liability;
- to recognise and debate on an introductory level some societal and ethically relevant aspects of developments in substantive criminal law (e.g. terrorism, corporate criminal liability)
- to distil a problem in criminal law cases and to identify and apply the relevant rules and criteria in order to solve the cases (in a comparative way);
- to communicate and debate during the tutorials and also during separate oral presentations possible solutions of a criminal law case in a well argumented way
The student is expected to have mastered the general basic principles of criminal law as discussed in the first year course Introduction to law (J. Hage & B. Akkermans (eds), Introduction to law, Springer, 2017) and legal English. No specific knowledge on criminal law is however required.
The necessary reading material for this course consists of the following handbook:
- J. Keiler & D. Roef (eds.), Comparative Concepts of Criminal Law, Cambridge, Intersentia, 2019.
For each session is indicated what chapters should be studied beforehand.