SHE Level 5
SCQF Credit Points 15.00
ECTS Credit Points 7.50
Module Code MMC811494
Module Leader Mairi Fleming
School School of Health and Life Sciences
Subject Psychology
  • A (September start)

Summary of Content

Concerned with providing an introductory framework concerning the operation of the criminal and civil justice systems of Scotland, England and Wales and highlighting the contributions psychology can make to understanding the behaviour and decision-making of key parties. Developments in psychological practice, including exercise of the expert witness role, are also considered.


-284 1. The investigative process (1): contributions of psychological research 2. The investigative process (2): the role of the police and other agencies 3. Criminal law * 4. The criminal justice process (including parole systems, sentencing, detentions and Orders of Lifelong Restriction) 5. A visit to forensic settings (e.g. High Court) 6. The role of the forensic psychologist and other professionals in civil cases 7. Assessing competence 8. Decision making by judges and juries ** 9. Historical abuse cases and criminal injuries compensation 10. Domestic violence in court * Workshop ** Team Seminar

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to describe, analyse and evaluate- Psychological processes of investigative decision-making and handling of interactions by the police- An introduction to criminal law- Agencies, stages, concepts and principles in the criminal justice process, from arrest to appeals- The role of the psychologist and other professionals in assessing competence and defences- Civil procedure adn the role of the psychologist; in particular, the principles, processes and applications of civil law relevant to common areas of involvement by forensic psychologists- Areas of application and effective exercise of the expert witness role, including potential dilemmas and pitfalls- Cognitive and social processes in the performance of decision making tasks by judges and juries- Legal and psychological issues in cases involving children- Legislation, policy and procedures concerning historical abuse cases and criminal injuries compensation- Visits to the High Court, Sheriff Court and HMP Barlinnie

Teaching / Learning Strategy

Lectures with discussion and exercises. Workshop session permitting extended coverage and use of a variety of media and methods. Team seminars involving preparation and presentations by group members. Directed, independent and private study to support and build upon the above.

Indicative Reading

Ashton, C. (2012) Understanding Scots Law (2nd Edition) Thompson/ Green, Edinburgh: Sweet & Maxwell Bartol, C & Bartol, A (2006) Current Perspectives in Forensic Psychology and Criminal Justice, Thousand Oaks CA: Sage. Blau, T. H. (1998). The psychologist as expert witness. Wiley Bull, R. and Carson, D. (Eds.) (2003) The Handbook of Psychology in Legal Contexts. Chichester: Wiley. Brown, J & Campbell, E (2010) The Cambridge Handbook of Forensic Psychology; CUP: Cambridge Canter, D & Zukauskiene, R (2012) Psychology & Law Bridging the Gap, Ashgate Publishing Ltd, December 2012 Davies< G & Beech, A (2012) Forensic Psychology: Crime, Justice, Law, Interventions (2 nd Edition) BPS Blackwell. Jones, T. (2012) Criminal Law. (Green's Concise Scots Law Series) Thompson/ Green (5th Edition): Edinburgh: Sweet & Maxwell. Gudjonsson, G. H. (1992) The Psychology of Interrogations, Confessions and Testimony. Chichester: Wiley Gudjonsson, G. H. (1994) The Psychologist as an Expert Witness. In M.. Gudjonsson, G. H. (1992) and Haward, L.R.C. (1998) Forensic Psychology: A Guide to Practice. London: Routledge. Kebbell, M, O'Kelly & Gilchrist, E (2007) Rape Victims Experiences of giving evidence in English Courts: a survey Psychiatry, Psychology & Law, 14 (1) 111 - 119. Kinderman, P (2007) Reforms to the Mental Health Act and implications for psychologists Issues in Forensic Psychology, no 6, 86 - 91. Lindsay, R.C.L., Ross, D., Read, D., & Toglia, M. (Eds). (2007).Handbook of Eyewitness Psychology: Volume 1 Memory for People. Lawrence Erlbaum Publishing, Mahwah, N.J. Leslie, O, Young, S & Valentine, T, Gudjonsson, G (2007) Criminal Barristers' opinions and perceptions of mental health expert witnesses Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology, 18(3) 394 - 410. Lloyd-Bostock, S. (1988). Law in Practice. London: Routledge. Chalmers, J. (2012) Evidence (3 rd Edition) Dundee University Press McGuire, J., Mason, T., & O'Kane A (Eds). (2000). Behaviour, Crime and Legal Proceses: A guide for forensic practitioners. Wiley. McMurran and J. Hodge (Eds.) The Assessment of Criminal Behaviours of Clients in Secure Settings. London: Jessica Kingsley, Melton, G., Petrila, J & Pythress, NG. (Eds) (1997). Psychological evaluations for the courts 2nd edn. New York: Guilford Press. Raitt, F & Zeedyk, S. (2000). The implicit relation pf psychology and law. Women and syndrome evidence. Brunner-Routledge. Stephenson, G.M. (1992) The Psychology of Criminal Justice. Oxford: Blackwell. Taylor, J & Lindsay, W (2007) Developments in the treatment and management of offenders with intellectual disabilities, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers. Lawrence Erlbaum Publishing, Mahwah, N.J. Vrij, A, Mann, S, Kristen, S & Fisher, R (2007) Cues to deception and ability to detect lies as a function of police interview styles Law and Human Behavior, 31 (2) 499-518. Webb, D & Harris, R. (Eds) (1999). Mentally disordered offenders. Managing people nobody owns, London: Routledge.

Transferrable Skills

Transf erable skill s include: recognising the work of other professionals; analysis of decision-making processes; identification of contextual parameters and demands; identification of strategy and potential problems whilst communicating in an adversarial situation; organisation and communication in teams.

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Practicals (PT) 6.00
Seminars (PT) 6.00
Seminars (FT) 6.00
Practicals (FT) 6.00
Lectures (PT) 12.00
Lectures (FT) 12.00
Assessment (FT) 20.00
Independent Learning (PT) 106.00
Assessment (PT) 20.00
Independent Learning (FT) 106.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Coursework 0.00 100.00 50% Essay 4000-5000 words