Since forensic psychology is the application of the science and the profession of psychology to questions and issues relating to criminal law and the criminal justice system, it stands to reason that a course in criminal law forms a substantial part of this master’s programme. Knowledge of the principles and concepts of criminal law and criminal procedure, private law and the position of children and juveniles in the legal system could strengthen an individual’s position as an expert witness in court. This eight-week course will combine seven sessions of group tutorials and six lectures . The first week of this course will focus on an examination of different criteria for criminalisation, and the ruling principles of criminal law. The second week of the course will focus on the elements or constituents of a criminal offence: The actus reus; the objective or external elements of a crime, and the mens rea; the subjective or mental element. In the following two weeks, the main focus of the course will be on the rules of criminal procedure, since it is only through these procedural rules that the substantive criminal law can be applied in a specific case. A distinction will be made between the pre-trial rules and the procedural rules during a trial. During week five, the central theme is the special position of children and juveniles in the legal system. Since the expertise of forensic psychologists is also sought in private cases regarding (e.g.) wardship, parenthood, or proving damage after an accident (often PTSD or whiplash), a brief overview of civil procedure and private law will be given in the sixth week. Week seven will focus on measures and punishment and the position of victims.
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Knowledge of: Substantive criminal law, criminal procedure, civil law, common law, law, treaty, jurisprudence, mens rea, actus reus, intention, negligence, offenses, defenses, justifications, excuses, human rights, (rights of) the suspect, reasonable suspicion, Salduz, Miranda warning, criminal liability, acquittal, discharge, sentence, punishment, measure, private law, civil procedure, tort.
Johannes Keiler and David Roef (eds.) (2015). Comparative Concepts of Criminal Law, Antwerp: Intersentia;
George P. Fletcher (1998). Basic Concepts of Criminal Law, New York: Oxford University Press;
Raymond Wacks (2008). Law: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: University Press;
Additional reading materials are either published in the course book or can easily be found on the internet or in the UB.
- K.H. Brodersen