LLM Programme

The taught modules offered on the LLM programme vary from year to year. Please check the full list of taught modules list for details of modules running in specific academic years. We make every effort to ensure that every module will be offered, but modules are subject to change and cancellation. You are therefore advised to check this site regularly for further updates throughout the year preceding entry to the LLM programme.

Credit value: 30 credits (12 ECTS)
Module Convenor:
Professor Ian Dennis
Dr Jonathan Rogers
Other Teachers:

This course deals with the law of criminal process of England and Wales and the ways in which it has been shaped by the Human Rights Act 1998, which incorporated the European Convention on Human Rights into English law. We adopt a selective and thematic approach to the subject. The course begins with a theoretical inquiry into the purposes of procedural law. We then look at the rights, values and ethics which inform procedural law and practice and the key provisions and concepts in the European Convention on Human Rights. The course moves on to examine the law and human rights principles relating to a number of key aspects of the criminal process: police powers of stop and search, detention and arrest; bail decisions; police questioning and the right to silence; illegality and unfairness in the obtaining of evidence; prosecutors’ decisions including charging and diversions; abuse of process; disclosure and public interest immunity; the presumption of innocence and burdens of proof; treatment of vulnerable witnesses; use of hearsay and anonymous evidence; the criminal trial and Article 6(1) of the ECHR; jury trial; appeal and review of convictions; double jeopardy, and finally the use of civil preventive orders. Pervasive themes of the course are the impact of human rights jurisprudence on the criminal process, the scope and control of discretion, safeguards against inadvertent abuse and the coherence of the law in terms of underlying theory.

The cases that we discuss will be a mixture of Strasbourg and domestic authorities. In Strasbourg, the ECtHR is often ready to find violations where the offending state action lacks relevant published guidelines, or where the state does not provide for various safeguards against inadvertent violation, or where the exercise of discretion is thought to be systematically applied unsatisfactorily in practice. In such cases the ECtHR often comes to a different conclusion from our domestic courts. A further generalisation – though it is no more than that – is that our courts are slow to find our law or practice to be incompatible with a convention right unless there is a very clear “steer” in that direction from Strasbourg jurisprudence.

One way of summarising this course would be that we are analysing the domestic law and practice on various points, and then asking whether the two (in combination) are necessarily Convention–compliant on certain points? We believe that this critical method of study is both of intrinsic interest and will develop transferable skills of use to students from other jurisdictions. We also expect during the course to anticipate various questions relating to the application of the Convention rights which have not yet been raised in the courts – perhaps our students will have the opportunity to raise some of them in the future?


First term:

  1. Aims and models of criminal process
  2. The main Convention rights and implications for criminal procedure
  3. "Balancing" rights and the scheme of Human Rights Act 1998
  4. Street policing: public order and stop/search powers
  5. Arrest, detention and bail
  6. Questioning of suspects: self-incrimination and silence
  7. Questioning of suspects: confessions and subsequently discovered evidence
  8. Investigatory powers: surveillance, traps and undercover operations
  9. Prosecution policy: charging, cautioning and guilty pleas
  10. Abuse of Process

Second term:

  1. Disclosure and public interest immunity
  2. Burden of proof and presumption of innocence
  3. Treatment of vulnerable witnesses (special measures, sexual history evidence)
  4. Hearsay and anonymous evidence
  5. Criminal trials: Art 6(1) (waiver, trial by independent and impartial tribunal, within reasonable time)
  6. Trial by Jury
  7. Appeal and review of convictions
  8. Double jeopardy
  9. Civil preventive orders
  10. Review class

Background Reading (optional):

You will find a lot of introductory information at:


Sample articles and cases which you should be able to download include:

  • J Spencer, “The Case for a Code of Criminal Procedure” [2000] Crim LR 519
  • A Sanders and R Young, “The Ethics of Prosecution Lawyers” (2004) Legal Ethics 7 (2) 190
  • L Leigh, “Private Prosecutions and Diversionary Justice” [2007] Crim LR 289
  • J Rogers, “Restructuring the Exercise of Prosecutorial Discretion in England” (2006) 26 (4) O.J.L.S 775
  • A Ashworth, “Social Control and ‘Anti-Social Behaviour’: the subversion of Human Rights” (2004) 120 LQR 263
  • L Zedner, “Preventive Justice or Pre-punishment? The Case of Control Orders” (2007) 60 Current Legal Problems 174-203
  • C Thomas, Are Juries Fair? http://www.justice.gov.uk/publications/docs/are-juries-fair-research.pdf
  • I Dennis, “Rethinking Double Jeopardy: Justice and Finality in Criminal Process” [2000] Crim LR 933

(Most cases are available for free via www.bailii.org)

  • R (on the application of B) v DPP [2009] EWHC 106 (Admin)
  • Rantsev v Cyprus and Russia (2010) 51 EHRR 1
  • T, R (on the application of) v Greater Manchester Chief Constable & Ors [2013] EWCA Civ 25
  • Gafgen v Germany (2011) 52 EHRR 1
  • Gillan and Quinton v UK App No 4158/05 [2010] ECHR 28
  • Beghal v DPP [2013] EWHC 2573 (Admin)
  • R v Looseley [2001] UKHL 53
  • Warren and others v Her Majesty’s Attorney General of the Bailiwick of Jersey [2011] UKPC 10
  • Edwards v United Kingdom [1992] 15 EHRR 417
  • Jones v Whalley [2006] UKHL 41; [2006] 4 All ER 113
  • R (Guest) v DPP [2009] EWHC Admin 594
  • Taxquet v Belgium (Application no. 926/05) [2010] ECHR 1806
  • Al-Khawaja and Tahery v United Kingdom [2012] 54 EHRR 23
  • R v Togher [2001] 3 All ER 463
  • R v Dunlop [2007] 1 Cr App R 8 (p 115)
  • A and Others v United Kingdom [2009] ECHR 301
  • Home Secretary v AF (No 3) [2009] UKHL 29
  • R (McCann) v Manchester Crown Court [2002] UKHL 39

Module reading lists and other module materials will be provided via online module pages, once students have made their module selections upon enrolment in September.

Delivery and enrolment
Lectures/Seminars:20 x 2-hour seminars
Tutorials: None
Previous module enrolments: Medium – 16-50 students
Who may enrol: LLM students
Prerequisities: None
Barred module combinations: None
Core Module for LLM specialism: Criminal Justice, Family and Social Welfare, Human Rights Law, Litigation and Dispute Resolution
Final Assessment: 3-hour unseen written examination
Practice Assessment: Opportunity for feedback on one optional practice essay per term

This page was last updated on 19 September, 2014


The application process for the 2015-16 academic session is now open.

Please note, for the 2015-16 intake, we are not accepting the TOEFL test. If you have an English condition to meet, you must take one of the alternative tests listed here instead.