Sample 2:1 Undergraduate Topics and Titles Order

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Title 1: Corporate Crime: Holding Companies Accountable

Relevance of Topic and Focus of Dissertation: Corporate crime poses special challenges to the law, because it involves the commission of a crime by a collective entity, yet which consists of several individuals. It is therefore a unique feature of corporate crime that it involves both a collective legal entity, and often several different individuals. This is problematic because it is not always clear as to where liability should lie, and how corporate crime should be punished. The dissertation will focus on the problem of corporate crime, from the perspective of traditional components of criminal law. In seeking to apply the individualistic elements of mens rea, actus reus, and intention to the collective corporate entity, the current law in the UK will be critically examined. This is an important issue, as corporate members often commit crimes, seeking to conceal their actions and avoid responsibility beneath the corporate structure. The dissertation will therefore determine whether collective or individual responsibility should be imposed when companies and their members commit crimes, and how this could be embodied in the law.

Indicative Sources:

  • ML Benson & TD Madensen, ‘Situational Crime Prevention and White Collar Crime’ in International Handbook of White-Collar and Corporate Crime (HN Pontell & G Geis eds, OUP 2007) pp. 609-626.
  • ML Benson & SS Simpson, White-Collar Crime: An Opportunity Perspective (Routledge 2009).
  • MB Clinard & PC Yeager, Corporate Crime (Free Press 1980).
  • N Shover & JP Wright, Crimes of Privilege: Readings in White-Collar Crime OUP 2000).
  • C Wells, Corporations and Criminal Responsibility (OUP 1993).

Title 2: When the Victim becomes the Defendant: A Critical Analysis of the Defence of Loss of Self Control

Relevance of Topic and Focus of Dissertation: The implementation of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 brought with it promises of major reform, which would update and improve homicide law in the UK. One of the most important changes brought about by the Act was its abolition of the defence of provocation, and the creation of the new defence of loss of self-control. Such defences are most important for victims who are victims of domestic abuse, and who suddenly and fatally lash out at their abusers. Whether the new defence is more appropriate for such defendants will be critically examined, with a comparative analysis of the previous defence under the Homicide Act 1957 and the new defence under the Coroners and Justice Act 2009. The elements of the defences, and their availability to victims of domestic violence will be explored, and weaknesses the remain in the new defence will form the basis for further reform.

Indicative Sources:

  • S Bandalli, ‘Provocation - A Cautionary Note’ [1995] 22 JLS 398.
  • M Burton, ‘Sentencing Domestic Homicide Upon Provocation: Still Getting Away With Murder’ [2003] 11 FLS 279.
  • K Csefalvay, ‘Taunts, Chapati Pans and The Case of the Reasonable Glue-Sniffer: An Examination of The Normative Test in Provocation After Smith and Holley’ [2006] CSLR 45.
  • J Horder, Provocation and Responsibility (OUP 1992).
  • Law Commission, Final Report on Partial Defences to Murder: Law Com No 290 (Stationery Office 2004).

Title 3: Child Criminals: Should the Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility be Increased?

Relevance of Topic and Focus of Dissertation: Child offenders spark controversial and important questions concerning whether or not the age of criminal responsibility is set at an appropriate age. While the original legal stance was that a child under 14 years of age were subject to a presumption of incapacity. The was however abolished by the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, which set the age of criminal responsibility at 10 years. Since this reform, the law has generally treated child offenders as adult offenders, apparently on the basis of public safety considerations. This means that young offenders are entering the criminal justice system at ever-decreasing ages, the carcinogenic effects of which may be dire. This dissertation will examine the concepts of criminal responsibility, intention and culpability in a bid to determine whether the minimum age of criminal responsibility should be increased. In comparing these elements as embodied in child offenders in comparison to adult offenders, a proposal will be made for the increasing of the minimum age of criminal responsibility.

Indicative Sources

  • S Bandalli, ‘Abolition of the Presumption of Doli Incapax and the Criminalisation of Children’ [1998] 37 Howard Journal 2.
  • R Church, B Goldson & N Hindley, ‘The Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility: Clinical, Criminological/Sociological, Developmental and Legal Perspectives’ [2013] 13 Youth Justice 2.
  • BC Feld, ‘Competence, Culpability, and Punishment: Implications of Atkins for Executing and Sentencing Adolescents’ [2003] 32 Hofstra Law Review 1.
  • H Keating, ‘Reckless Children?’ [2007] 7 Criminal Law Review 546.
  • J Muncie, Youth and Crime (3rd edn, Sage 2009).