LAW4227 - Criminal investigation law and procedure - 2017

6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Unit guides



  • Second semester 2017 (Day)


Criminal investigation and procedure involves an examination of the elaborate and sometimes complex set of arrangements which have evolved over many hundreds of years for dealing with the processing of criminal cases against alleged offenders.

Criminal investigation and procedure involves not only a study of the process and the law relating to the various elements of that process but also a consideration of some fundamental issues of political and legal philosophy: in essence, what is the appropriate balance to be struck between the community interest in preventing and dealing with crime and the liberties and interests of the individuals who are caught up in the system?

The Unit deals with the following topics and issues:

  • The underlying purposes of the criminal investigative and procedural system
  • The architecture of the criminal investigative process: police, prosecution, defence and the courts
  • Criminal investigative arrangements: investigation, rights and responsibilities
  • Commencing criminal proceedings
  • Custodial investigation: questioning, identification, forensic and other procedures
  • Bail
  • Prosecution processes and principles
  • Criminal trials
  • Sentencing
  • Appeals


The overall objective of this Unit is to acquaint students with the significant number of steps or decision-making stages of the criminal investigation process, and the law and practice in relation to those key decision-making points. Students will develop a good descriptive and analytical grasp of the whole criminal investigative process.

The area will be approached not only from the perspective of what the law is but also from a legal policy standpoint. Significant emphasis will be given to the fundamental political and philosophical questions which arise in criminal investigation, especially those concerning civil liberties and community interests.


Class attendance and participation (10%)

2500 word research project (50%)

Take-home examination (40%)

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. The unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)


For students in the LLB course:

LAW1101 Introduction to legal reasoning

LAW1104 Research and writing

For students in the LLB Hons course:


Foundations of law

Criminal law 1

Public law and statutory interpretation


Contract A

Contract B

Property A

Constitutional law



Corporations law