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
Intercollegiate teaching: No
Teaching Method: 20 x two-hour seminars
Who may enrol: LLM students
Prerequisites: None
Barred module combinations: None
Core module for specialism: Criminal Justice, Family and Social Welfare, Human Rights Law, Litigation and Dispute Resolution
Practice Assessment: voluntary – students are advised to submit one essay per term
Assessment method for LLM students: 3-hour unseen written examination
Module Overview

Module summary

This course deals with the law of criminal procedure of England and Wales and the ways in which it has been molded, or is liable to be affected, by the Human Rights Act 1998. 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 angles 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 irregular obtaining of evidence; prosecutors’ decisions including charging and diversions; abuse of process; the criminal trial and Article 6(1) of the European Convention on Human Rights; jury trial; burdens of proof; questioning of witnesses; hearsay; public interest immunity; appeal and finally double jeopardy. Pervasive themes of the course are the impact of human rights 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 stating the domestic law and practice on various points, and then asking whether the two (in combination) are necessarily Convention–compliant on certain points? We think this critical method of study will also be of interest 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?

Module syllabus

We will teach the following subjects:

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:

11 Disclosure and public interest immunity
12 Criminal trials: Art 6(1) (waiver, trial by independent and impartial tribunal, within reasonable time)
13 Burden of proof and presumption of innocence
14 Examination of witnesses and use of sexual history evidence
15 Special measures and anonymous evidence
16 Hearsay evidence
17 Trial by Jury
18 Appeals
19 Double jeopardy
20 Preventive justice

Recommended materials

Ashworth, Emmerson and Macdonald Human Rights and Criminal Justice (2012, Sweet & Maxwell, 3rd edn)

Ashworth and Redmayne The Criminal Process (2010) OUP (4th edn)

Sanders, Burton and Young Criminal Justice (2010) OUP (4th edn)

Preliminary reading

You will find a lot of introductory information at



Sample articles and cases which you may 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
Other information: N/A
Prizes for this module: There are currently no prizes available for this module.


The application process for the 2014-15 academic session, for entry in September 2014, is now open.

Please refer to the How to apply section for information on the application process.