General Course Information

1.1 Course details

Course code: LLAW3235
Course name: Punishment and society
Programme offered under: LLB Programme
Semester: Second
Designated research course: Not applicable
Specialization: Not applicable
Prerequisites / Co-requisites: Not applicable
Course offered to non-law students: No
Credit point value: 6 credits

1.2 Course description

This course will explore the institution of punishment from a philosophical perspective.

The first part of the course will focus on the question of justification of punishment (i.e. what provides the positive reason and right for setting up the institution of punishment?) Deterrence, Self-defence, Retribution, Consent, and Forfeiture theories will be covered.

The second part of the course will explore the question of distribution of punishment (i.e. who should be punished and by how much?). Topics that may be covered include the following: Should successful crimes be punished more than failed attempts? Should poverty, youth, or repentance be mitigating factors? Should previous criminal records be taken into account in sentencing? How should we sentence offenders who commit their crimes under civil disobedience?

1.3 Course teachers

Name E-mail address Office Consultation
Course convenor Peter Chau pscchau@hku.hk CCT 706  By email

Learning Outcomes

2.1 Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs) for this course

CLO 1 Describe and explain the major justifications of punishment offered in the literature and the standard objections against them.

CLO 2 Describe and explain some traditional philosophical issues in punishment (e.g. should poverty be a mitigating factor); Understand what position different jurisdictions take concerning those issues.

CLO 3 Apply theoretical principles on punishment to critically assess existing sentencing practice.

CLO 4 Demonstrate an awareness of how punitive justice is connected to other forms of justice.

2.2 LLB Programme Learning Outcomes (PLOs)

Please refer to the following link: https://course.law.hku.hk/llb-plo/

2.3 Programme Learning Outcomes to be achieved in this course



3.1 Assessment Summary

Assessment task Due date Weighting Feedback method* Course learning outcomes
Term paper TBC 50% 1, 2, 3, 4
Final exam TBC 50%  1 1, 2, 3, 4
*Feedback method (to be determined by course teacher)
1 A general course report to be disseminated through Moodle
2 Individual feedback to be disseminated by email / through Moodle
3 Individual review meeting upon appointment
4 Group review meeting
5 In-class verbal feedback

3.2 Assessment Detail

To be advised by course convenor(s).

3.3 Grading Criteria

Please refer to the following link: https://www.law.hku.hk/_files/law_programme_grade_descriptors.pdf

Learning Activities

4.1 Learning Activity Plan

Seminar 3 hours / week for 12 teaching weeks
Private study time: 9.5 hours / week for 12 teaching weeks

Remarks: the normative student study load per credit unit is 25 ± 5 hours (ie. 150 ± 30 hours for a 6-credit course), which includes all learning activities and experiences within and outside of classroom, and any assessment task and examinations and associated preparations.

4.2 Details of Learning Activities

To be advised by course convenor(s).

Learning Resources

5.1 Resources

Reading materials: Reading materials are posted on Moodle
Core reading list: TBA
Recommended reading list: TBA

5.2 Links

Please refer to the following link: http://www.law.hku.hk/course/learning-resources/