LEGAL440-19C (HAM)

Special Topic: Issues in Comparative Criminal Law and Justice

15 Points

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Division of Arts Law Psychology & Social Sciences
Te Piringa - Faculty of Law
Faculty of Law Dean's Office


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Paper Description

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Much has been written about the “global” nature of crime – human rights violations, the drug trade, and human trafficking, among others. But international crime must also be understood at the national and local level, where legal institutions and systems are created to respond to crime, and where their operation may lead to varying legal norms. This course will provide a comparative analysis of how crime is understood worldwide and will review how varying criminal justice systems respond to both local and international crime. Special attention will be paid to those national systems that mirror that of New Zealand while offering useful examples of approaches and norms that are different.

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Paper Structure

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This course examines the different ways that crime is understood and then addressed in diverse regions and across various levels of government.As such, we will examine definitions of criminality, comparing interpretations at the international, regional, national, and even local level. We will explore varying philosophies and approaches to criminal enforcement and the differing institutions that provide enforcement. Along the way, we will examine specific types of crime. Among the topics to be covered are:

  • Definitions of crime and criminality;
  • International law and international human rights;
  • “Western” approaches vs. other models;
  • The influence and role of indigenous norms and practices;
  • International, national, and local institutions of law enforcement and prosecution
  • Varying mechanisms for settling criminal matters
  • Transnational crime
  • Specific, contentious issues between and among nations, including: terrorism, digital crime; genocide; and capital punishment
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Learning Outcomes

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Students who successfully complete the course should be able to:

  • Learning Outcome

    Students who successfully complete this course will be able to describe and discuss different definitions of crime across global, regional, national, and local boundaries and appreciate the reasons for common typographies. They will be able to do the same when considering philosophies and approaches to criminal enforcement and to the institutions responsible for enforcement. They will be able to assess influential criminal justice trends between and across countries, and they will gain an understanding of some of the most controversial issues that divide nations.

    Linked to the following assessments:
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Assessment Components

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The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0. There is no final exam. The final exam makes up 0% of the overall mark.

The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0 or 0:0, whichever is more favourable for the student. The final exam makes up either 0% or 0% of the overall mark.

Component DescriptionDue Date TimePercentage of overall markSubmission MethodCompulsory
1. Assignment 1: Take Home Test
13 Dec 2019
11:30 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
2. Assignment 2: In Class Test
17 Dec 2019
No set time
  • In Class: In Lecture
3. Research Essay
23 Jan 2020
5:00 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
4. Class participation
Assessment Total:     100    
Failing to complete a compulsory assessment component of a paper will result in an IC grade
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Required and Recommended Readings

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Required Readings

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Reading MaterialsAll reading assignments will come from the following books. Excerpts will be made available to students online through Dropbox, so it is not necessary to purchase any books for this class.

Cyndi Banks and James Baker, Comparative, International and Global Justice: Perspectives

from Criminology and Criminal Justice (Sage, 2016).

Marks D. Dubber and Tatjana Hornle, eds. Oxford Handbook of Criminal Law (2014)

Jiahong Lius, Max Travers and LennonY.C. Chang, editors, Comparative Criminology in Asia

(Springer, 2017).

Shadid M. Shahidullah, Comparative Criminal Justice Systems: Global and Local Perspectives

(Jones and Bartlett Learning, 2014)

Richard Vogler, A World View of Criminal Justice (Ashgate Publishing, 2005)

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Online Support

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If you require assistance with Moodle, or encounter any problems, please contact the Help Desk. You can send a message to Help Desk by using the instant message service in your paper’s Moodle site (from the participants list within the People block).

Alternatively, you can email them directly at or call 838 4008.
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The course will be taught over six days across two weeks. By necessity, the work will be concentrated. Classes will be interactive, with students encouraged to try out ideas they are considering. It will, however, be necessary for students to do the pre-reading for the course so that they get the most out of the materials under discussion.

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