CRJU301-23S1 (C) Semester One 2023

Sentencing Theory and Practice

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 20 February 2023
End Date: Sunday, 25 June 2023
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 5 March 2023
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Sunday, 14 May 2023


Theoretical bases for sentencing: just deserts, utilitarianism and other theories. Plea negotiation. Sentencing Act 2002- process, principles and practice. Probation and parole. Proceeds of Crime legislation.

The first half of the course begins by discussing theories of sentencing and how these are incorporated into the Sentencing Act 2002. It then considers the types of sentences available to a Judge, and the process by which a Judge decides on the appropriate sentence.

The second half of the course focusses on the specific types of sentences and issues arising from these, including: sentencing for murder and three strikes law; the Clean Slate Act and Expungement of convictions for historical homosexual offending; and Extended Supervision Orders and Public Protection Orders. Throughout the course, students will be introduced to current debates about the efficacy of different kinds of sentences and with the ethical issues arising in the sentencing process.

Learning Outcomes

  • By the end of the course, students will be able to:
  • Explain the purpose, justifications and limitations of the main theories underlying sentencing law in New Zealand, and how these are applied under the Sentencing Act 2002;
  • Explain and evaluate the purposes and principles in the Sentencing Act 2002, and how these are to be applied in a sentencing hearing;
  • Describe the forms of sentence available under the Sentencing Act 2002, their hierarchy, and evaluate situations in which each sentence might or might not be appropriate;
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the process of sentencing an offender in New Zealand, and the information available to the court in this process;
  • Explain the purpose, justifications and limitations of specific sentencing rules under the Sentencing Act or other sentencing legislations;
  • Demonstrate familiarity with current debates on sentencing in New Zealand, and the legal, ethical, social and cultural implications of these;
  • Apply legal reasoning and judgement to sentencing scenarios;
  • Critically examine issues of principle and policy raised by New Zealand's current criminal law framework and its operation in practice;
  • Apply legal reasoning and judgement to sentencing scenarios or issues;
  • Work independently and manage their time in order to meet course deadlines.
    • University Graduate Attributes

      This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:

      Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award

      Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.



LAWS337; LAWS366

Equivalent Courses

Recommended Preparation

Timetable Note

Students will be expected to attend lectures and workshops and to engage in approximately 60 hours of self-directed research.

Course Coordinator / Lecturer

Debra Wilson


Chat Le Nguyen


Assessment Due Date Percentage 
Online Quiz 17 Mar 2023 10%
Written Assignment 27 Apr 2023 40%
Final Examination 50%

The assessment will be confirmed in the first week of lectures.

Textbooks / Resources

Recommended Reading

Westlaw NZ; Adams on criminal law ; Thomson Brookers, 2007.

There are no required textbooks for this course.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $868.00

International fee $4,488.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

Minimum enrolments

This course will not be offered if fewer than 10 people apply to enrol.

For further information see Faculty of Law .

All CRJU301 Occurrences

  • CRJU301-23S1 (C) Semester One 2023